Did the Christian Church hinder medical development

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Last updated: November 10, 2019

During the Middle Ages Medical development was pulled to a halt, what was taught by the Egyptians, Greeks and Romans were rarely used, since the church was the only place for ill people to be healed or treated. The church said that disease was caused by evil spirits taking entering the body and was only cured by God ; if anyone disagreed they would be punished by imprisonment or death. An example of punishment for believing differently was Roger Bacon, who was imprisoned since he believed that diseases were not cured by spirits.The Christian church hindered Medical development for a number of reasons firstly they did not allow dissection as it was banned and illegal.

If anyone was caught performing dissection were punished immediately; if they had performed dissection they would have learned more about the human body and also how to cure different disease.They also did not carry out any research by themselves, if they added onto Galen’s work they would have been able to know how to cure other diseases and illnesses. Galen unfortunately didn’t know how to cure every disease; so when there was an unknown disease the church did not know how to treat the patient. Another reason why Medical development was hindered was because they placed people in prison who disagreed that diseases and illness were caused by evil spirits, this set back most of the work learnt by the Egyptians, Greeks and Romans since they have gone back to believing that disease was caused by spirits and would be healed by magic.The saints at the churches promised that they would heal everyone with prayers but however they did not work since there were only a total of 31 people healed in a year. They also believed that the cure for toothaches were to write a passage on the patients jaw and to chant the passage.However they also did help the development of Medical development, they believed that Galen’s work was correct and they also used various parts of his knowledge while treating patients.

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They would have been able to heal more people if they accepted more people’s views and knowledge about medical development. Galen already had cures for a substantial number of illnesses, this meant that these cures could be passed down through the ages. If they hadn’t used his work then maybe Galen’s work would have been lost forever and the cures he found wouldn’t been known today.Another development for church was that it was clean, this would mean there weren’t any bacteria or germs around which proved that infection was less likely. This is a help because it is most probably how sterilising the utensils started.

If the church wasn’t clean and after treating a patient they died then the doctors might think there treatment didn’t work. They also believed that clean water was a priority so there were large amounts of fresh water. The Canterbury cathedral is an example of this as there were many herbs that were grown there, larger amounts of fresh water and they also believed that hygiene was very important.There were also rules from the Benedictine monastery that it was very important that they try to heal people even if they had little knowledge on how to heal them.In conclusion I believe that they did hinder medical knowledge since they banned dissections and sentencing people to death and imprisonment for disagreeing medicine came to a standstill. They also did not allow people to try differently, if they had more people would have been like Galen and new cures couldn’t be found. However they did try to help heal people without realising that they were halting the development of medicine.

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