Anatomy of the Soul, Psalm of the Anatomy

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J Trauma Inj. 2021;34(1):1-2
Publication date (electronic) : 2021 March 31
doi :
Department of Plastic Surgery, Inha University College of Medicine, Incheon, Korea
Correspondence to Kun Hwang, M.D., Ph.D. Department of Plastic Surgery, Inha University College of Medicine, 27 Inhang-ro, Jung-gu, Incheon 22332, Korea Tel: +82-32-890-3514 Fax: +82-32-890-2918 E-mail:
Received 2021 January 13; Accepted 2021 February 8.

Whenever I feel that I am subjected to persecution from somebody else, or even from fate, I read Psalm 23, which begins as follows: “The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”

The Book of Psalms is an anthology of individual psalms, with 150 in the Jewish and Western Christian tradition and more in the Eastern Christian churches. Among the 150 psalms, King David is noted as the author of 73 psalms (Fig. 1).

Fig. 1.

King David playing the harp (1619). Drawn by Domenico Zampieri (1581-1641). Available from:

John Calvin commented on the Psalms, “I have been accustomed to call this book, I think not inappropriately, ‘An Anatomy of All the Parts of the Soul’; for there is not an emotion of which any one can be conscious that is not here represented as in a mirror. Or rather, the Holy Spirit has here drawn to the life all the griefs, sorrows, fears, doubts, hopes, cares, perplexities, in short, all the distracting emotions with which the minds of men are wont to be agitated” [1].

Humans are composed of body and soul. As Calvin wrote that the Book of Psalms is an anatomy of all the parts of the soul, I became curious about which book could serve as an anatomy of all parts of the human body.

As a facial trauma surgeon and an anatomist, when I encounter patients, the first book I usually open is the newest edition of Gray’s Anatomy, which was initially published in 1858 and has been regularly revised and republished up to the present day (42nd edition in 2020).

Injuries are a major of cause of death and disability in the young. What, then, will be the psalms for Korean trauma surgeons in clinical practice to reduce mortality?

Internationally, Advanced Trauma Life Support and Trauma are two canonical books for trauma surgeons. In Korea, we have a book entitled Korean Trauma Life Support which should be revised. I hope that our Korean Society of Traumatology will make our own Book of Psalms, which we can immediately open when we encounter difficult trauma patients.


This study was supported by a grant from National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF-2020R1I1A2054761).


1. Calvin J. The author’s preface [Internet]. Geneva: Commentary on Psalms 1557; [cited 2021 Jan 13]. Available from:

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