Article ID: CBB017919206

Sacred Medicine and the Bible: Thomas Bartholin’s On Biblical Diseases (1672) (2019)


The Danish physician Thomas Bartholin, famous for his work as an anatomist, also nourished a career-long interest in accounts of medicine in the Bible that resulted in a series of books on the topic. His final such work, On Biblical Diseases (De morbis biblicis,1672)attracted a wide readership and was regarded by contemporaries as a model of an early modern practice called medicina sacra,the analysis of biblical accounts of disease and healing. Taking Biblical Diseases as a focal point, I investigate methods and goals of early modern study of medicine in the Bible. Setting out early influences that shaped Bartholin’s development, I demonstrate connections between his work and its precursors. Examining Biblical Diseases itself, I indicate how Bartholin deployed contemporary medical, philological, theological, and historical knowledge to scrutinize biblical accounts. A brief glance at the reception of Biblical Diseases reveals that theologians and physicians alike utilized Bartholin’s work and how it influenced subsequent studies of medicine in the Bible.

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Authors & Contributors
Methuen, Charlotte
Papparella, Franca C.
Julia Reed
Domenico Roccolo
Berns, Andrew
Ziegler, Joseph
Early Science and Medicine: A Journal for the Study of Science, Technology and Medicine in the Pre-modern Period
Mefisto: Rivista di medicina, filosofia, storia
Micrologus: Nature, Sciences and Medieval Societies
Micrologus: Natura, Scienze e Società Medievali
Medizin, Gesellschaft, und Geschichte
Eighteenth-Century Studies
Yale University Press
Wilhelm Fink Verlag
W. W. Norton & Co.
Truman State University Press
Medicine and religion
Science and religion
Disease and diseases
Medicine and culture
Hecquet, Philippe
Melanchthon, Philipp
Steno, Nicolaus
Spinoza, Baruch
Portaleone, Abraham b. David
Newton, Isaac
Time Periods
Early modern
17th century
18th century
16th century
Nuremberg (Germany)
Jesuits (Society of Jesus)

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