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Medicine and Health Care in Early Christianity (Hardback)
  • Medicine and Health Care in Early Christianity (Hardback)

Medicine and Health Care in Early Christianity (Hardback)

Hardback 264 Pages / Published: 15/04/2009
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Drawing on New Testament studies and recent scholarship on the expansion of the Christian church, Gary B. Ferngren presents a comprehensive historical account of medicine and medical philanthropy in the first five centuries of the Christian era. Ferngren first describes how early Christians understood disease. He examines the relationship of early Christian medicine to the natural and supernatural modes of healing found in the Bible. Despite biblical accounts of demonic possession and miraculous healing, Ferngren argues that early Christians generally accepted naturalistic assumptions about disease and cared for the sick with medical knowledge gleaned from the Greeks and Romans. Ferngren also explores the origins of medical philanthropy in the early Christian church. Rather than viewing illness as punishment for sins, early Christians believed that the sick deserved both medical assistance and compassion. Even as they were being persecuted, Christians cared for the sick within and outside of their community. Their long experience in medical charity led to the creation of the first hospitals, a singular Christian contribution to health care.

Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
ISBN: 9780801891427
Number of pages: 264
Weight: 499 g
Dimensions: 229 x 152 x 23 mm

A succinct, thoughtful, well-written, and carefully argued assessment of Christian involvement with medical matters in the first five centuries of the common era... It is to Ferngren's credit that he has opened questions and explored them so astutely. 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. * Journal of the American Medical Association *
In this superb work of historical and conceptual scholarship, Ferngren unfolds for the reader a cultural milieu of healing practices during the early centuries of Christianity... His arguments are always compelling and usually convincing. He shows how Christians lived out their faith as a positive healing and caring witness, boldly living out their Christianity as a persuasive alternative to the failed pagan responses to fellow human beings in need. * Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith *
Readable and widely researched... an important book for mission studies and American Catholic movements, the book posits the question of what can take its place in today's challenging religious culture. * Missiology: An International Review *
This is 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 *
Medical historians and historians interested in the classical age will welcome this well written book to their libraries. Medical practioners in every field with a strong interest in medical history will profit from reading it as well. Certainly, libraries at every medical university and graduate school will want this book. * Doody's Review Service *
Well written and well researched. * Catholic Insight *
The story that [Ferngren] tells is provocative for Christian readers who live in a culture of fear and who tremble at the thought of new pandemics. * Christian Century *
We must be grateful for this closely argued book and the light it sheds on early Christian health care. * Journal of Theological Studies *
Reading this book gives one the impression of discovering something new. One can see how some medical and social ideas were born, and how mutual relations between religion and medicine were developing. * Religion *
[An] excellent and thought-provoking work. * Medical History *
Ferngren writes in an engaging manner that will be especially attractive to physicians who do not have a background in theology or Church history. This book would be of great interest to any Christian physician or health-care professional who is interested in learning more about medicine at the time of Christ and its impact on Christianity and, perhaps more importantly, Christianity's impact on the care of the ill. * Linacre Quarterly *
[An] excellent and thought-provoking work. -- Ildiko Csepregi * Medical History *
A highly important investigation in medicine and healing in early Christianity. A book that every scholar of healing in early Christianity should read. * Practical Matters *
Ferngren's approach and evidence are persuasive and a wonderful introduction to an element of early Christianity frequently overlooked, misunderstood, or both. * Brethren Life and Thought *
A good book. * Catholic Historical Review *
Medicine and Health Care in Early Christianity, written with deep affection for the subject, is a rich study, important for any scholar interested in the emergence and development of medicine in the Christian society of late antiquity. * Isis *

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