Basil (Photo credit: el_finco) Not actually Basil the Great, but the herb, which has been used since ancient times as an anti-inflammatory.
Here’s the next bit of the “hospitals chapter” in Getting Medieval with C S Lewis. It follows from this bit on Lewis, this introductory bit, and this description of the very first proto-hospitals in the earliest Christian church
Basil’s House of Healing
The hospital itself, it is generally agreed, begins to emerge in the fourth century from the compassion of a well-known monk—Basil, now called “the Great.” In setting the scene for this story, historian Timothy S. Miller reminds us that Lewis’s “two-edged” description of the faith (body affirming + spirit affirming) characterized monks as well as laypeople – in a way many moderns find surprising. Mentioning some of the monks’ more severe ascetic practices (for example, the unforgettable Simeon Stylites’ long stretches sitting atop a pole in the desert), Miller admits, “Their lifestyles of severe self-denial may seem to pull against the truth that God made us human beings and called us ‘very good’—bodies and all.”
“But,” continues, Miller, “if monastics really thought of the body as evil, then how is it that some of the greatest strides in the history of healthcare arose within monasticism? Monks cared for the ill in Benedictine monasteries, Franciscan leprosaria, the institutions of the monastic ‘hospitallers,’ the many hospitals of the Augustinians, and so on throughout the history of monasticism.” Basil started it all, and his story “decisively dispels” our “myths of body-hating monks.” Continue reading
Posted in Medieval Wisdom for Modern Protestants
Tagged Basil the Great, Benedict of Nursia, Crusades, healing, healthcare, Hospitallers, hospitals, Jerusalem, mercy, Simeon Stylites, the poor
Yep. The Christian History editorial team is celebrating the printing of Issue #101: Healthcare and Hospitals in the Mission of the Church. For full access to this full-color issue (including a magnified view for us old people–just click on the magazine to enlarge), see here.
The issue tells the fascinating story of how early and medieval Christians pioneered the healthcare institutions on which we now rely, including the modern hospital.
Christian History itself is moving forward in full and glorious health. Projects in the pipeline for 2011-12 include the following:
–a guided tour of 1,000 years of worship from Constantine to Luther,
–a larger issue or even book on the history of Christianity in America,
–an issue showing how influential early African Christianity (especially North African) was in the development of the faith,
–an issue exploring the ways the church responded to the travails and malaises of industrial society from the early 1800s through the beginning World War II, and
–a special keepsake issue on the history of Christmas.
If you haven’t signed up for the magazine yet at http://www.christianhistorymagazine.org, now is the time! Tell your friends!
Guenter Risse has provided, in his Mending Bodies, Saving Souls, a fascinating account of the Hospital of St. John in Jerusalem during the crusader years.
The Hospital reflected and elaborated on the values found in the earlier monastic history of Christian hospitals. Here are some glimpses, prefaced by a brief timeline of Jerusalem’s history: Continue reading
Posted in Medieval Wisdom for Modern Protestants, Resources for Radical Living
Tagged Hospital of St. John, Hospitallers, hospitals, Jerusalem, medicine, Medieval, Middle Ages, monasticism, the Crusades, the First Crusade