Article ID: CBB336717345

Mechanica Medicina Sacra: Biblical Vegetarianism in Philippe Hecquet’s Theological Medicine (2021)


In the early eighteenth century, the French Jansenist physician Philippe Hecquet began publishing prolifically on the benefits of what he called “meatless medicine,” calling for a “Catholic cook” to guide France’s physical, moral, and spiritual health. This paper analyzes Hecquet’s defense of vegetarianism as an early modern example of a distinct kind of Biblical medicine – what Hecquet termed “theological medicine” – in the context of his understanding of bodily mechanism, natural history, and Biblical literalism, in his Traité des dispenses du carême (1709) and La medecine théologique, ou la medecine créée (1733). I argue that vegetarianism was the first principle of Hecquet’s Biblical medicine, which he considered both a natural and revealed truth to be grasped and applied by the pious physician.

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Article Aslıhan Gürbüzel; Faith Wallis (2021) “Angelical Conjunctions”: An Introduction. Early Science and Medicine: A Journal for the Study of Science, Technology and Medicine in the Pre-modern Period (pp. 419-438). unapi

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Authors & Contributors
Henry Notaker
Rivest, Justin
O'Brien, Charmaine
Santoro, Lily A.
Wisecup, Kelly
Veit, Helen Zoe
Osiris: A Research Journal Devoted to the History of Science and Its Cultural Influences
Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences
Journal of Interdisciplinary History
Isis: International Review Devoted to the History of Science and Its Cultural Influences
University of California Press
University of Delaware
University of North Carolina Press
Rowman & Littlefield
Duke University Press
Nutrition; dietetics
Medicine and religion
Cooking and cuisine
Natural history
Food and foods
Clement XI, Pope
Sinclair, Upton Beall
Roosevelt, Theodore
Occom, Samson
Muir, John
Linnaeus, Carolus
Time Periods
18th century
19th century
20th century, early
17th century
Early modern
United States
Brittany (France)
United States. Food and Drug Administration

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