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The Cult of Asklepios


1. Contextualize: What are the methods by which the divine being heals in the


accounts, and what are the various methods by which people pay for the


services of the divine?


2. Analyze: What do those methods of payment teach you about the value of


divine services?


Israelite Healthcare


For two points, answer the following two questions, for one point each:


1. Every healthcare system creates a clinical reality in which classification is


required. What categories do you find in the biblical texts, and what do these


categories teach you about how illness is understood in this particular




2. Select one patient from the Gospel of Mark account and identify their social


location. Explain what their social location teaches you about how Jesus (in


The Gospel of Mark) understands distribution of care.


JUST Select one of the options below for your essay. DON'T WRITE THE ESSAY


NOW. You are provided with a topic, some research questions and primary source


options. You are not limited to the research questions that I have offered, but they


can help get you started. You will find all the resources you need to complete this


assignment in the folder titled "Analytical Essay," in which you will find links to


primary and secondary sources. ALSO CHOOSE ONE OF THE ARTICLES THAT




Topic Choices


1. Anorexia: nervosa and mirabilis. What distinctions exist between anorexia


nervosa and anorexia mirabilis ("holy anorexia"), and how can an understanding


of—and appreciation for—religious practices related to food intake or food denial


assist in addressing the challenges of eating disorders and/or body dysmorphic


disorders? Primary source: selection from The Life of St. Catherine of Siena or a


primary source of your choosing.


2. Consecrated Virginity and Slut Shaming. The movement of consecrated virginity


within Christianity created space for women to claim ownership over their marital


status, sexual activity and gynecological health…but it is complicated. This topic asks


you to consider texts that argue for women’s sexual autonomy, to reflect on where


authority is located in these theologies, and to ask how these texts assist in thinking


about the way we think and speak publically about women’s sexual and


gynecological health. Primary sources to consider: the Acts of Thecla; Jerome’s


Letter 22 to Eustochium; Sophronios’ Life of Mary of Egypt; the Canons of Elvira or


The Life of Pelagia.


3. Religion and Public Health. How does religion and/or religious belief inform


responses to disease or the fear of disease? What can we learn from historic,


religious responses to disease to better prepare us to respond to disease, the spread


of disease, or fear of the spread of disease? Primary sources to consider: Cyprian of


Carthage, Treatise 7, Mortality; Gregory Nazianzus, On Love for the Poor; Procopius,


History of the Wars; any number of primary sources from The Black Death or a


primary source of your choosing.


4. Self-Harm and Ascetic Discipline. A naïve or uninformed approach to monastic


asceticism could lead one to conclude that monks and nuns are self-harming; how


can knowledge of theology of purification (body mortification, deprivation or the


sick role) assist us in better understanding an individual’s decision to engage in


methods of self-harm such as cutting, burning, healing prevention, carving or


trichotillomania? Primary sources to consider include: The Lives of Simeon the


Stylite, The Life of the Holy Radegund or a primary source of your choosing.


5. The Noon-Day Demon. The World Health Organization claims “an estimated 350


million” [2] people suffer from depression. Evidence of depression can be found in


ancient and medieval texts. What insight can religious approaches to mental health


offer either to those who care for the mentally ill or some of those 350 million?


Primary sources to consider: selections from John Cassian’s The Institutes, from The


Life of Christina Markyate; Thomas Aquinas’ Q. 35, Second Part of the Summa


Theologica, selections from The Book of Margery Kempe, selections from Martin


Luther’s Letters of Spiritual Counsel or a primary source of your choosing.

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