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Chapter 14

The Power of Plagues-Chapter 14.docx

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Health Studies
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Caroline Barakat

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The Power of Plagues Chapter 14 Leprosy the Striking Hand of God there is interest in and dread of leprosy largely stemming from frequent references of the bible To the readers of the Old Testament leprosy was an abominationJob sayspity me pity me and pity me you my friends for the hand of god has stuck me it was assumed that job was struck by the perils of leprosyIn medieval art job is always depicted in being covered in black spotsBody spots are even seen in illustrations of leperswhen a man shall have the skin of his flesh a rising a scab or a bright spot and it be in the skin of hi flesh the plague of leprosy then he shall be brought until Aaron the priest or unto the son of his priestsAnd mention of leprosy in the old testament and the New testament has contributed to the fear of sores associated with leprosy as well as the notion that what is blemished is unclean and also displeasing to god because its defiledThe fictional account of Ben Hur as well as the parables of Christ and his encounter with the 10 lepers on the road to Gaililee gave rise to a massive literature on the imagery of leprosy as a disease of the soul and one that was massively contagious A look BackLeprosy arose in the Far East about 1400 BC for there are accurate descriptions in the sacred Hindu writings of the Veda and there are also descriptions in Chinese literature The earliest accounts of leprosy occur in an Indian text the Charaka Samhit written between 600 and 400 BC The Nei Chang a textbook describes in to be where the patient has stiff joints the eyebrows and beard fall off the flesh becomes nodular and ulcerates numbness results and finally the bridge of the nose changes colour and rotsWHERE DID IT BEGIN Leprosy was brought from India to Greece in the fourth century BC by the soldiers of Alexander the Greatbut it is also possible that leprosy spread from the Far East to the West along the trade routes arriving in the Mediterranean about the time of ChristLeprosy then spread further west in the graveyards of Britain and France there is evidence of the disease in bones dating form AD 500 to 700Emperor ConstantineAD 274337 suffered from leprosyand pagan priests believed that bathing in blood of sacrificed children would cure him but it didntSaarath Hebrew word was used to describe many skin conditions it has been described as defiledor accursed or simply scalyo Saraath became leprosSt Jerome changed lepros into lepra and in the first English translation of the bible lepros became leprosyo Leprosy was considered a disease of the soul In medieval timesDisease was known as satyriasis an insatiable sexual appetite The belief that this veneral disease was due to immortality was logically extended to leprosyleprosy became known as divine punishment for the sins of fleshthe disfigurement of the face and hands contributed to the alienation of the leperand the sores on the body led to the belief that leprosy was contagious SOCIAL PROBLEMS lepers were an outcast in societywere not considered to be nice peopleo In 1179the Third Lateran Council issued a decree urging the segregation of lepers from society They were to not mix with crowds to use his own container and draw in water
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