Hospitals were broadly conceived in the Middle Ages as establishments that received pilgrims and travelers, tended to the poor, and, with the professionalization of medicine, increasingly came to provide care to the sick and dying. In Charity and Welfare, James Brodman surveys the networks of hospitals and charitable institutions in medieval Catalonia that gave food to the hungry, dowries to indigent women, shelter to the homeless, and palliative care to the ill. The book shows how, just as contemporary society struggles with the issues of welfare reform, managed health care, and assistance to the elderly, so did the people of the Middle Ages deal with questions of who to help and what criteria to use to make those decisions. In their assessments, they made a clear distinction between charity, aid given gratuitously and indiscriminately to others, and welfare, assistance targeted toward certain groups for particular, desired ends. The author concludes that Catalan hospitals depended upon the close collaboration of church and state, a mixture of voluntary and public funding, and a combination of religious and secular values.
Publisher: University of Pennsylvania Press
Number of pages: 256
Weight: 550 g
Dimensions: 152 x 229 x 23 mm