Ask the Midwives: A Hebrew Manual on Midwifery from Medieval Germany

Elisheva Baumgarten*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


This article focuses on a chapter in a manual on circumcision written in Worms in the thirteenth century by Jacob and Gershom haGozrim (the circumcisers). The third chapter of the manual contains medical instruction on how to attend to women in labour and other gynaecological conditions. Whereas the first two chapters of the manual were published in the late nineteenth century, the midwifery chapter has only been recently examined. This article is comprised of a translation of the midwifery text(s) along with an introduction to the text and the community practices it reflects. It outlines the cooperation between medical practitioners, male and female, Jewish and Christian, and discusses the medical remedies recommended and some practices current in thirteenth-century Germany.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)712-733
Number of pages22
JournalSocial History of Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 The Author(s). Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for the Social History of Medicine.


  • Birth
  • Circumcisers
  • Gender
  • Jewish-Christian relations
  • Medieval
  • Midwives
  • Physicians


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