Medicine, Miracle and Magic in New Testament Times
This book sketches and illustrates in detail the range of understandings of the human condition and remedies for ills that prevailed when Jesus and the apostles - as well as their successors - were spreading the Christian message and launching Christian communities in the Graeco-Roman world. Healing played so prominent a part in Jesus' ministry as depicted in the New Testament that it is important to understand that aspect of his appeal in the context of the ways in which it was understood by Greeks, Romans and Jews of the time. Some saw sickness as the result of magic performed against the victims by enemies, others as the work of demons. Some saw health as the result of ordering life according to nature, emphasising the beneficial effects of natural substances. Jewish attitudes, for example, ranged widely over the centuries from hostility towards physicians to regard for them as men endowed by God with special knowledge for human benefit.