Show Summary Details
Page of

Medicine and Spirituality: A Historical Perspective 

Medicine and Spirituality: A Historical Perspective
Medicine and Spirituality: A Historical Perspective

Gary B. Ferngren

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD MEDICINE ONLINE ( © Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Medicine Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 23 June 2021

This essay traces the development of professional medicine and medical philanthropy over more than two millennia. It attempts to provide some understanding of how traditional medical care took shape and how religion came to play an essential supporting role in the healing process before it gave way to cultural shifts and scientific and technological advancements that in the last two centuries have largely eliminated spiritual values from medicine. I shall argue that the elimination of religion and the growth of professionalization in all areas of medicine have unintentionally weakened the element of compassion in patient care. As a result the healing process has been transformed in a way that our ancestors of even three or four generations ago would hardly have recognized it.

Access to the complete content on Oxford Medicine Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.