Medicine in Ancient Times
It has been reported that medicine during the life and times
of Jesus was strongly influenced by Greek medicinal standards . The Greeks
had revolutionized the concepts and practices of medicine and these new practices
were adopted by the Romans of Jesus’ time. Because much of the Greek medicine
revolved around the four fluids, or ‘humors’, of the human body (blood, phlegm,
black bile, and yellow bile), much of the medicine practiced at the time
involved altering the levels of these fluids.
Therefore, medical practices such as bloodletting, vomiting, baths,
heating, cooling, and sweating were common.
However, these were not the only forms of medicine
practiced. In addition to various
traditional folk medicines and magical practices, numerous herbs were used to
treat common conditions of the times. While few of these are mentioned in the
Bible, descriptions of commonly used herbal medications were recorded in texts
written by learned men of Jesus’ time. These include Di Medicina by Celsus and Naturalis
Historia by Gaius Plinius Secundus (Pliny the Elder).
AN. Wilt Thou Be Made Whole? In: The Lord of the Gospels: The 1990 Sperry
Symposium on the New Testament. Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1991, pages