Care for the Sick in Early Christianity: Lessons for the Current COVID-19 Stricken Church
Debates on whether early Christians relied solely on exorcism and other miraculous healing under the assumption that all diseases are a result of demonic activity, continue. On the one end of this scholarly continuum are those who hold that early Christians only approached disease and healing as purely spiritual phenomena (hence, focusing on exorcism and other kinds of miraculous healing), while, on the other end, others have argued that early Christians accepted a naturalistic view of the causes for diseases and, consequently, sought naturalistic solutions to diseases. However, like in many other areas of life and thought in early Christianity, there is truth in both of these contentions. Rather than choose sides in this debate, this paper will argue that, just like in other areas, early Christians chose and modified existing approaches to sickness and death based on their understanding of the scriptural teachings on these subjects. As such, their approaches provide some key lessons to the current Covid-19 stricken Church.
Covid-19; sickness; Hippolytus; medicine; therapeutics; care; Tertullian; Cyprian Plague; Epidemic; pandemic; magic; healing; exorcism
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