Medicine and Health Care in Early Christianity
Publication Year: 2009
Published by: The Johns Hopkins University Press
This volume addresses in a connected way the early Christian reception of Greek medicine and the origin and development of Christian medical philanthropy in the first five centuries of the Christian era. I began it while I held a resident fellowship at the Oregon State University Center for the Humanities. I continued my writing during a two-term sabbatical leave from Oregon State University ...
1. Methods and Approaches
The intersection of medicine and the Bible, particularly in the Bible’s passing references to illness and healing, has long fascinated medical professionals and lay readers alike. Many of the subjects that fall under the rubric of biblical disease and medicine have been repeatedly discussed.1 What was the natureof biblical leprosy and how did it differ from modern leprosy? Why was it associated ...
2. The Christian Reception of Greek Medicine
It is the thesis of this book that Christians of the first five centuries held views regarding the use of medicine and the healing of disease that did not di√er appreciably from those that were widely taken for granted in the Graeco- Roman world in which they lived. They did not attribute most diseases to demons, they did not ordinarily seek miraculous or religious cures, and they employed ...
3. Early Christian Views of the Etiology of Disease
On opening the pages of the New Testament, many modern readers find themselves in what appears to be an alien world, in which supernatural forces intervene in ordinary life. The Gospels focus on the extraordinary Palestinian ministry of Jesus, who casts out demons and miraculously heals the sick of every description.1 The Book of Acts recounts the activities of Jesus’s apostles, ...
4. Christianity as a Religion of Healing
Since the time of Adolf Harnack (1851–1930) it has been widely maintained that an emphasis on physical healing was, from the New Testament era to the end of antiquity, a major aspect of early Christianity.1 One might cite many authorities for this view.2 I merely adduce two. First, Harnack: ‘‘Deliberately and consciously [Christianity] assumed the form of ‘the religion of salvation or healing ...
5. The Basis of Christian Medical Philanthropy
Christianity spread rapidly in the first century, owing to its extensive missionary activity, from its birthplace in Palestine throughout the Roman Empire. By about A.D. 60 the new faith had been carried to most parts of the eastern Mediterranean and as far west as Rome. In A.D. 64 Nero accused the Christian community in Rome of having set fire to the city, and in order to divert ...
6. Health Care in the Early Church
The development of the care of the sick in early Christianity has sometimes been viewed as having occurred in two stages. In the pre-Constantinian church, charitable activity, including the care of the sick, depended largely on the ministrations of nonmedical clergy and laity. After the legalization of Christianity in A.D. 313 and the influx of state funds that came to be directed to its ...
7. Some Concluding Observations
Modern reconstructions of the attitudes of early Christians to disease and healing have been varied. Some scholars maintain that early Christians believed in a demonic etiology of disease. While on first reading this view seems to gain support from the Gospels’ accounts of Jesus’s healings, a closer examination indicates that there is little in them to suggest that a theory of demonic causation of ordinary disease was held by either Jesus or the first generation of ...
Page Count: 264
Publication Year: 2009
OCLC Number: 867641259
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