Looking for a Healer

For today’s write-up on The Cambridge History of Judaism, Volume Three: The Early Roman Period, I will refer to a quotation of Morton Smith’s 1978 book, Jesus the Magician, which appears on pages 659-660 of E.P. Sanders and W.D. Davies’ “Jesus: From the Jewish Point of View”:

“…we must remember that ancient Palestine had no hospitals or insane asylums.  The sick and insane had to be cared for by their families, in their homes.  The burden for caring for them was often severe and sometimes, especially in cases of violent insanity, more than the family could bear—the afflicted were turned out of doors and left to wander like animals…Also, since rational medicine (except for surgery) was rudimentary, lingering and debilitating diseases must have been common, and the victims of these, too, had to be cared for at home.  Accordingly, many people eagerly sought cures, not only for themselves, but also for their relatives.  Doctors were inefficient, rare, and expensive.  When a healer appears—a man who could perform miraculous cures, and who did so for nothing!—he was sure to be mobbed.  In the crowds that swarmed around him desperate for cures, cures were sure to occur.”

This is a powerful passage about the historical context of Jesus the healer.

About jamesbradfordpate

My name is James Pate. This blog is about my journey. I read books. I watch movies and TV shows. I go to church. I try to find meaning. And, when I can’t do that, I just talk about stuff that I find interesting. I have degrees in fields of religious studies. I have an M.Phil. in the History of Biblical Interpretation from Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio. I also have an M.A. in Hebrew Bible from Jewish Theological Seminary, an M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School, and a B.A. from DePauw University.
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