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The Greek language of healing from Homer to New Testament times


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Wells, M L S 1993 , 'The Greek language of healing from Homer to New Testament times', PhD thesis, University of Tasmania.

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The problem of suffering has preoccupied mankind since the earliest
times. From the time of Homer to the present day humans have
constantly searched for a solution to their suffering and an understanding
of it. This study focuses on two expressions of this search through a
study of the Greek language of healing: the healing cult of Asklepios,
which flourished in the Mediterranean world from the fifth century BC
to the fourth century AD, and that of Jesus of Nazareth, whose healing
ministry began in the first century AD, supplanted that of Asklepios in
the fourth century AD, and is still in existence today. The investigation
does not consider whether physical healings actually occurred; rather it is
an exploration of the meaning of the general terms used to describe the
healings recorded.
The study is in two parts: Part One begins with the use of healing
language in the work of Homer, and traces the development of this
semantic field through a study of the language surrounding the cult of
Asklepios at Epidauros, Athens, Kos and Pergamon. These four centres
were chosen because they illustrate the differing nature of the cult over
the period of its existence. Epidauros was a major colonising sanctuary,
and remained a major centre of pilgrimage throughout its existence;
Athens became a state cult and so illustrates a parochial and familial
quality; Kos was the centre of a major medical school; and Pergamon
was both the cult focus of a major hellenistic monarchy, and the site
where the great Galen practised medicine. Thus a focus on these four
centres allows a study of a breadth of sources, from before the time of
Hippokrates until the time of Galen. Naturally the study of sources is
not exhaustive. A selection was made from as wide a field as possible to
illustrate the use of general healing terms in inscriptions and literature
over the longest possible timespan.
After a bridging survey of the Jewish use of this semantic field in the
Septuagint, together with complementary material from Philo of
Alexandria, and Josephus, Part Two focuses on the meaning of the same
semantic 'field in the New Testament. A linguistic survey of Hebrew and
Aramaic documents is excluded, as being outside the scope of the topic, in
terms of both space and relevance.
The study is in two volumes: Volume One contains the argument,
Volume Two the texts and translations (or analysis of texts) on which the
argument is based. Usually only the primary texts in which language has
been discussed are cited in the bibliography, otherwise reference to
primary sources is made by the usual method in footnotes.
Central to this study are the human concepts of health and wholeness,
and of the relationship of mind and body, spirit and soul, and the
language used to express these concepts and relationships.

Item Type: Thesis - PhD
Authors/Creators:Wells, M L S
Keywords: Healing, Healing in the Bible, Greek language
Copyright Holders: The Author
Copyright Information:

Copyright 1993 the Author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s).

Additional Information:

Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Tasmania, 1994. Includes bibliographical references (v. 1., leaves 239-258)

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