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Doctors, Saints, and Healing in the Modern World407
It is now recognized that spirituality plays an active role in the experience of illness and healing, even when the sufferer turns to medicine for help. The relationship of medicine to the miracles at healing shrines, especially Lourdes, is well known. Less studied are the miracles associated with the canonization of saints. The Vatican Archives house the transcripts of the ecclesiastical investigations of all of the miracles credited to the intercession of
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candidates for sainthood. These documents contain verbatim accounts of patients, their families, and physicians. The testimony is filtered and shaped by the formal questions of clergy, who are concerned not to be duped by wishful thinking or nave enthusiasm. Jacalyn Duffin has examined either the full
testimony or the Vatican summaries of more than 670 miracles reported in 35 countries on six continents from the late 17th century to the 21st. She discovered that more than 96% of these miracles are healings from physical illness. Essentially, they are medical case histories, involving the active participation of doctors. Over the course of centuries, she found, these records display remarkable stability. The stories of illness and healing follow a prescribed dramatic structure, like the arc
of a novel, play, or opera, shaped by universal reactions to sickness and recovery. However, Duffin finds, some elements in the miracle files change over time: the number of doctors increases, the nature of evidence embraces new technologies, and the diagnoses considered amenable to transcendent
healing shift to incorporate new ideas about medical capability. Placing these findings within the context of church history, Duffin goes on to examine them in light of the ongoing controversy about the effectiveness of distance healing, spirituality and prayer. She thus situates this postmodern debate about the mind/body relationship within the timeless tradition of saintly healing.
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Recensioner i media
Clare Pilsworth, Times Higher Education Supplement This is a well-researcehd and thought-provoking book, ranging confidently over four centuries of history.
Andrew Keitt, Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences an erudite and meticulously researched work of history that will be not only of interest to scholars from a variety of fields, but even more importantly, useful to them as well.
<br>Jacalyn Duffin, physician and historian, holds the Hannah Chair for the History of Medicine, Queen's University, Ontario.<br>
LIST OF TABLES; LIST OF FIGURES; ABBREVIATIONS; ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS; PREFACE; 1. Making Saints: Miracles, Medicine and Evidence since 1588; 2. The Supplicants and their Saints; 3. The Miracles: Diseases, Corpses, and Other Wonders; 4. Doctors and Medical Knowledge in the Canonization Process; 5. Healing as Drama: Gestures of Invocation and the Context of Cure; CONCLUSION: RELIGION, MEDICINE, AND MIRACLES; APPENDIX A: A NOTE ON SOURCES AND METHOD; APPENDIX B: SAINTS, BLESSEDS, AND THE SOURCES ON THEIR MIRACLES; APPENDIX C: CANONIZATIONS AND BEATIFICATIONS IN THIS STUDY BY YEAR; NOTES; BIBLIOGRAPHY; INDEX