Jesus himself performed many miracles of healing, and Christians down the ages have seen this as a prominent feature of their faith. Indeed, healing is one of the most constant themes in the long and sprawling history of Christianity. Changes in healing beliefs and practices offer a window into changes in religious authority, church structure, and ideas about sanctity, history, resurrection, and the kingdom of God. Porterfield chronicles these changes, at the same time shedding important new light on the universality of religious healing. Beginning with the texts of the New Testament and concluding with the healers and hospital builders of the late twentieth century, Amanda Porterfield provides a skillful description of the manifold ways that Christians have engaged in practices of healing for the past two thousand years. The book is an eye-opener.
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Jesus himself performed many miracles of healing. In the second century, St. Ignatius was the first to describe the eucharist as the medicine of immortality. Prudentius, a 4th-century poet and Christian apologist, celebrated the healing power of St. Bokenham, in Healing is one of the most constant themes in the long and sprawling history of Christianity.
Bokenham, in his 15th-century Legendary, reported the healing power of milk from St. Zulu prophets in 19th-century Natal petitioned Jesus to cure diseases caused by restless spirits. In this book Amanda Porterfield demonstrates that healing has played a major role in the historical development of Christianity as a world religion.
Porterfield traces the origin of Christian healing and maps its transformations in the ancient, medieval, and modern worlds. She shows that Christian healing had its genesis in Judean beliefs that sickness and suffering were linked to sin and evil, and that health and healing stemmed from repentance and divine forgiveness.
Changing Christian ideas of healing, Porterfield shows, are a window into broader changes in religious authority, church structure, and ideas about sanctity, history, resurrection, and the kingdom of God.
Her study allows us to see more clearly than ever before that healing has always been and remains central to the Christian vision of sin and redemption, suffering and bodily resurrection.
Healing in the History of Christianity