Article ID: CBB296469942

’17, ’18, ’19: religion and science in three pandemics, 1817, 1918, and 2019 (2020)


Recognizing that serious pandemics call forth explanations which go to the heart of beliefs about why natural disasters occur, this article examines three pandemics over the last 200 years (cholera from 1817, Spanish influenza in 1918–19, and COVID-19) to establish whether such explanations have changed significantly over time and, if so, why. What it finds is that this period saw a watershed in which the dominance of traditional religious explanations declined in many parts of the world in the face of the ascent of explanations based on biomedical science. Tracking this momentous change across several faiths and regions globally makes it possible to put into telling historical perspective the stances taken by faith-based communities in response to the current COVID-19 pandemic.

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Authors & Contributors
Burns, Susan
Zhao, Dingxin
Glaeser, Andreas
Hayes, Nick
Doyle, Barry M.
Harrison, Henrietta
Centaurus: International Magazine of the History of Mathematics, Science, and Technology
Journal of Global History
Historical Research: The Bulletin of the Institute of Historical Research
Journal of Asian Studies
Canadian Bulletin of Medical History/Bulletin Canadienne d'Histoire de la Medecine
Canadian Journal of Health History/Revue canadienne d’histoire de la santé
I. B. Tauris
University of Chicago
Duke University Press
Cambridge University Press
Johns Hopkins University Press
Public health
Medicine and society
Medicine and culture
Time Periods
21st century
20th century, early
19th century
20th century
20th century, late
Qing dynasty (China, 1644-1912)
Democratic Republic of the Congo

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