Thursday, 5 February 2015

Christoph Markschies: WS- Ancient Christianity and Medicine, Health, and Disability-The State of the Question and Frameworks for Future Research

In the last few years, a number of important initiatives have developed to focus on and rethink questions related to Health and Disability in Ancient Christianity. And a number of important conferences have also taken place, e.g. in France (published as "Les pères de l'Église face à la science médicale de leur temps", 2005). But many of these initiatives develop in relative isolation from each other. International Patristics offers a rare opportunity for scholars in these areas to meet and discuss. The aim of the proposed workshop is to bring together the different approaches represented by all of these groups and to host a discussion on methodology and theoretical frameworks. The panelists represent a variety of different national and disciplinary cultures. And discussion will focus on the current state of the question and future challenges. Some of the themes of the session will include: the juxtaposition and overlap between Greco-Roman/pagan and Christian healing techniques and theories, the problematic distinction between "rational" scientific medicine and "irrational" miraculous healing, the need to integrate research on material culture with textual approaches. A great deal of progress has been made in terms of elucidating various ancient concepts of health and disease as it maps onto certain sociological, educational, and religious groups. Furthermore, much has been done to edit and comment on ancient texts relevant to the study of these topics. But there are still important lacunae that need to be addressed. And it is also important to discuss common methodological standards and approaches.

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