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Medicine and Religion

A Historical Introduction

Gary B. Ferngren

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Explores the interplay of medicine and religion in Western societies.

Medicine and Religion is the first book to comprehensively examine the relationship between medicine and religion in the Western tradition from ancient times to the modern era. Beginning with the earliest attempts to heal the body and account for the meaning of illness in the ancient Near East, historian Gary B. Ferngren describes how the polytheistic religions of ancient Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greece, and Rome and the monotheistic faiths of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam have complemented medicine in the ancient, medieval…

Explores the interplay of medicine and religion in Western societies.

Medicine and Religion is the first book to comprehensively examine the relationship between medicine and religion in the Western tradition from ancient times to the modern era. Beginning with the earliest attempts to heal the body and account for the meaning of illness in the ancient Near East, historian Gary B. Ferngren describes how the polytheistic religions of ancient Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greece, and Rome and the monotheistic faiths of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam have complemented medicine in the ancient, medieval, and modern periods.

Ferngren paints a broad and detailed portrait of how humans throughout the ages have drawn on specific values of diverse religious traditions in caring for the body. Religious perspectives have informed both the treatment of disease and the provision of health care. And, while tensions have sometimes existed, relations between medicine and religion have often been cooperative and mutually beneficial.

Religious beliefs provided a framework for explaining disease and suffering that was larger than medicine alone could offer. These beliefs furnished a theological basis for a compassionate care of the sick that led to the creation of the hospital and a long tradition of charitable medicine.

Praise for Medicine and Health Care in Early Christianity, by Gary B. Ferngren

"This fine work looks forward as well as backward; it invites fuller reflection of the many senses in which medicine and religion intersect and merits wide readership."—JAMA

"An important book, for students of Christian theology who understand health and healing to be topics of theological interest, and for health care practitioners who seek a historical perspective on the development of the ethos of their vocation."—Journal of Religion and Health

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Medicine and Religion

Gary B. Ferngren

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Reviews

This book is highly recommended to anyone who is interested in the intersection of religion and medicine... I expect this book to become required reading for many clinical health care and bioethics classes (as well as history classes).

Medicine and Religion will serve as a useful introduction to anyone — which means everyone — who will experience its twin themes.

This book is quite wonderful... It covers a large amount of history in the setting of a relatively short book, but the information that is contained in the eight chapters and epilogue is incredibly well presented in an easy-to-read manner.

[Ferngren's book] will be particularly useful for students in divinity and religious studies and all those qualifying for social health care who might find themselves in search of new perspectives in caring for the sick and the dying in today's all too often spiritually deprived, cost-benefit-based health care institutions.

About

Book Details

Publication Date
Status
Available
Trim Size
6
x
9
Pages
256
ISBN
9781421412160
Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction
1. The Ancient Near East
2. Greece
3. Rome
4. Early Christianity
5. The Middle Ages
6. Islam in the Middle Ages, with Mahdieh Tavakol
7. The Early Modern Period
8. The Nineteenth

Acknowledgments
Introduction
1. The Ancient Near East
2. Greece
3. Rome
4. Early Christianity
5. The Middle Ages
6. Islam in the Middle Ages, with Mahdieh Tavakol
7. The Early Modern Period
8. The Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries
Epilogue
Notes
Index

Author Bio
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Gary B. Ferngren

Gary B. Ferngren is a professor of history at Oregon State University, editor of Science and Religion: A Historical Introduction, and author of Medicine and Health Care in Early Christianity, both published by Johns Hopkins.
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