Leisure, Pleasure and Healing

Spa Culture and Medicine in Ancient Eastern Mediterranean


The book deals with leisure, pleasure and healing at the thermo-mineral sites in the Levant since the biblical era throughout the Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine, and early Muslim periods. It looks closely at the question of whether the spas, which are models for social interaction between pagans, Christians and Jews, served as sacred cult places or popular sites of healing. The main objectives of the book are as follows: • Clarifying the leisure-time activities at the spas based on Classical and Rabbinic literature, pilgrims’ travel-books, Syriac and Arabic texts, the Geniza fragments, cartographic evidence, and archaeological findings. • Lightening the daily life, healing cults, medical recommendations and treatments. • Examining the social history of medicine at the curative baths.

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Estēe Dvorjetski, Ph.D. (1992) in Jewish History, Hebrew University in Jerusalem, is Professor at the Department of History, Oxford Brookes University and also teaches at the Department of Archaeology, Haifa University, Israel. She has published more than 60 articles and chapters in books on daily life, spas, ecology, history of medicine, leisure culture, numismatics and history of art during the Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine and early Muslim periods. She is currently engaged with her next book, entitled Public Health in the Holy Land: An Historical-Archaeological Analysis.
All those interested in the history of Late Antiquity, archaeology, geology, history of medicine, spa culture, classical studies, history of religions, Holy Land studies, Jewish history, Rabbinic literature as well as Aramaic and Greek epigraphy and numismatics.