ISSN (Online): 2583-0090

Attitudes toward Epidemics in the Bible

Authored by
Dr Bina NirDr Bina Nir,Head Department of Multidisciplinary Studies,The Academic College of Emek Yezreel, Israel
on 28/12/2022

Abstract

Disease and pain are physiological phenomena, but they also possess social and cultural meanings, with different attitudes toward pain and diseases in different cultures. Using the genealogical method, this paper examines the cultural roots of attitudes toward epidemics, diseases, and the body as they appear in the biblical text, a foundational text in Western culture. Genealogy deals with the past, but its purpose is to understand and critique the current reality. Epidemics in the Bible are perceived as collective punishment for sins, and are also mentioned as one of the punishments predicted for the β€œEnd of Days.” Over time, this biblical narrative was expressed in various secular contexts and was even used by the media during the spread of the Covid-19 virus. In the Bible, overcoming an epidemic – or plague – requires a religious act, as part of the general biblical conception that the body, its health, and sickness are related to religious acts. The purpose of bodily afflictions in the Bible is to purify the soul or to lead one to repent. Exploring the biblical narratives related to epidemics enables a renewed examination of values and attitudes on this topic, in Western culture in general, and in Judaism in particular.


Keywords : Plague as punishment, End of Days, Pain, Western Culture


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