Medical Saints: Cosmas and Damian in a Postmodern World

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9780199743179: Medical Saints: Cosmas and Damian in a Postmodern World
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Cosmas and Damian were martyred around the year 300 A.D. in what is now Syria. Called the Anargyroi ("without silver") because they charged no fees, they became patrons of medicine, surgery, and pharmacy and the focus of cults ranging across Europe. They were popular in Byzantine and Orthodox traditions and their shrines are numerous in Eastern Europe, southern Italy, and Sicily. The Medici family of Florence viewed the "santi medici" as patrons, and their deeds were illustrated by great Renaissance artists. In medical literature they are now revered as patrons of transplantation.

Jacalyn Duffin offers a profound exploration of illness and healing experiences in contemporary society through the veneration of the twin doctors Saints Cosmas and Damian. She also relates a personal journey, from her role as a hematologist who unexpectedly came to serve as an expert witness in the Church's evaluation of a miracle to her research as a historican on the origins, meaning, and functions of saints.

Duffin's research, which includes interviews with devotees in both North America and Europe, focuses on how people have taken the saints with them as they moved both within Italy and beyond. She shows that veneration of Cosmas and Damian has spread beyond immigrant traditions to fill important functions in healthcare and healing. Duffin's conclusions provide essential insights into medical history, sociology, anthropology, and popular religion, as well as the current medical debate over spiritual healing. Medical Saints draws on medical history and Roman Catholic traditions, but extends to universal observations about the behaviors of sick people and the formal responses to individual illness from collectivities in religion, medicine, and history.

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About the Author:


Jacalyn Duffin is Professor in the Hannah Chair of the History of Medicine at Queen's University in Kingston, where she has taught in medicine, philosophy, history, and law for more than twenty years. She has served as President of both the American Association for the History of Medicine and the Canadian Society for the History of Medicine. The author of seven other books and many research articles, she holds a number of awards and honours for research, writing, service, and teaching. Her most recent book is an analysis of the medical aspects of canonization, Medical Miracles; Doctors, Saints, and Healing, 1588-1999, OUP 2009.

Review:


"Jacalyn Duffin has drawn on her insight as historian and as physician to craft an engrossing exploration of the enduring place of medical saints, pilgrimage, and miracles in the modern world. A welcome scholarly study of faith, healing, and the human condition and a flat-out page turner."--John Harley Warner, Avalon Professor of the History of Medicine, Yale University


"After confirming a diagnosis of fatal leukemia for a patient who went on to make a full recovery, Dr. Jacalyn Duffin found that her report on the case had been entered in support of the cause to make Mère Marguerite d'Youville Canada's first Catholic saint. Duffin, who describes herself as an atheist, set off on a decades-long pilgrimage to find out more. This book is a passionate, sympathetic, and open-eyed account of her journey and what she discovered about the church and humanity. It is a fascinating revelation, showing not only that religion supports medicine while invoking hope and agency, but how little the medical community knows about this side of the lives of ordinary people. Recommended for believer and unbeliever alike."--Harold J. Cook, John F. Nickoll Professor of History, Brown University


"Dr. Duffin spins a lively tale of her personal involvement with a miraculous cure that led to the canonization of a saint, and her studies of medical miracles. As an academic physician and a medical historian, she sensitively and intelligently reflects on the difficulty doctors have with the idea of miracles but how patients can embrace both medical science and the power of prayer to achieve healing."--Jock Murray, Professor Emeritus, Neurology and Medical Humanities, Dalhousie University


"[T]his is a thoughtful and thought-provoking book that should prove valuable to a range of readers, including historians and sociologists of medicine and religion, as well as believers and skeptics of the miraculous." --Journal of the History of Medicine


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Book Description Oxford University Press Inc, United States, 2013. Hardback. Condition: New. Language: English. Brand new Book. This book is an exploration of illness and healing experiences in contemporary society through the veneration of saints: primarily the twin doctors Saints Cosmas and Damian. It also follows the author's personal journey from her role as a hematologist who inadvertently served as an expert witness in a miracle to her research as a historian on the origins, meaning and functions of saints. Sources include interviews with devotees in both North America and Europe. Cosmas and Damian were martyred around the year 300 A.D. in what is now Syria. Called the "Anargyroi" (without silver) because they charged no fees, they became patrons of medicine, surgery, and pharmacy as their cult spread widely across Europe. The near eastern origin explains their popularity in Byzantine and Orthodox traditions and the concentration of their shrines in Eastern Europe, Southern Italy, and Sicily. The Medici family of Florence also viewed the "santi medici" as patrons, andtheir deeds were depicted by great Renaissance artists. In medical literature they are now revered as patrons of transplantation. Duffin's research focuses on how people have taken the saints with them as they moved within Italy and beyond. It also shows that their veneration is not confined toimmigrant traditions, and that it fills important functions in health care and healing.Duffin's conclusions are situated within scholarship in medicine, medical history, sociology, anthropology, and popular religion; and intersect with the current medical debate over spiritual healing. This work springs from medical history and Roman Catholic traditions; however, it extends to general observations about the behaviors of sick people and about the formal responses to individual illness from collectivities in religion, medicine, and, indeed, history. Seller Inventory # APC9780199743179

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Book Description Oxford University Press Inc, United States, 2013. Hardback. Condition: New. Language: English. Brand new Book. This book is an exploration of illness and healing experiences in contemporary society through the veneration of saints: primarily the twin doctors Saints Cosmas and Damian. It also follows the author's personal journey from her role as a hematologist who inadvertently served as an expert witness in a miracle to her research as a historian on the origins, meaning and functions of saints. Sources include interviews with devotees in both North America and Europe. Cosmas and Damian were martyred around the year 300 A.D. in what is now Syria. Called the "Anargyroi" (without silver) because they charged no fees, they became patrons of medicine, surgery, and pharmacy as their cult spread widely across Europe. The near eastern origin explains their popularity in Byzantine and Orthodox traditions and the concentration of their shrines in Eastern Europe, Southern Italy, and Sicily. The Medici family of Florence also viewed the "santi medici" as patrons, andtheir deeds were depicted by great Renaissance artists. In medical literature they are now revered as patrons of transplantation. Duffin's research focuses on how people have taken the saints with them as they moved within Italy and beyond. It also shows that their veneration is not confined toimmigrant traditions, and that it fills important functions in health care and healing.Duffin's conclusions are situated within scholarship in medicine, medical history, sociology, anthropology, and popular religion; and intersect with the current medical debate over spiritual healing. This work springs from medical history and Roman Catholic traditions; however, it extends to general observations about the behaviors of sick people and about the formal responses to individual illness from collectivities in religion, medicine, and, indeed, history. Seller Inventory # APC9780199743179

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