Title of Abstract

The Diverse Medical Traditions of Medieval Europe

Submitting Student(s)

Philip ClapperFollow

Faculty Mentor

One WU mentor: Gregory Bell, Ph.D.; bellgd@winthrop.edu

College

College of Arts and Sciences

Department

History

Faculty Mentor

Gregory Bell, Ph.D.

Abstract

Medical practices in the medieval world, across both national, temporal, and cultural boundaries, consisted of seemingly eclectic groupings of both practitioners and methods. These ranged from amateur belief in magical practices, left over from previous pagan religions, to herbal remedies by those outside the Church that were often actually effective, but also included Catholic orthodox methods of healing, including prayer and blessings, and Jewish medical traditions as well. The list of those who practiced medicine and other ways of healing was similarly eclectic, and was obviously not limited merely to well-learned, Christian men. Not only did women, one most notable example being that of Hildegard of Bingen, participate in the dispensation of medical knowledge and practice, but the Jewish population also worked alongside secular Christian medical practitioners. As stated, layfolk, or Christians who were not among the Church hierarchy, utilized home and traditional remedies. How did the various medieval medical traditions interact with one another, and how were such a wide range of medical practices effectively coordinated and implemented? Good health was a necessity in medieval Europe, and as such, many medical traditions existed or were forged alongside Church-approved medical practices, and, to a certain extent, were tolerated by the Church.

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Course Assignment

HIST 590 - Bell

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The Diverse Medical Traditions of Medieval Europe

Medical practices in the medieval world, across both national, temporal, and cultural boundaries, consisted of seemingly eclectic groupings of both practitioners and methods. These ranged from amateur belief in magical practices, left over from previous pagan religions, to herbal remedies by those outside the Church that were often actually effective, but also included Catholic orthodox methods of healing, including prayer and blessings, and Jewish medical traditions as well. The list of those who practiced medicine and other ways of healing was similarly eclectic, and was obviously not limited merely to well-learned, Christian men. Not only did women, one most notable example being that of Hildegard of Bingen, participate in the dispensation of medical knowledge and practice, but the Jewish population also worked alongside secular Christian medical practitioners. As stated, layfolk, or Christians who were not among the Church hierarchy, utilized home and traditional remedies. How did the various medieval medical traditions interact with one another, and how were such a wide range of medical practices effectively coordinated and implemented? Good health was a necessity in medieval Europe, and as such, many medical traditions existed or were forged alongside Church-approved medical practices, and, to a certain extent, were tolerated by the Church.