Jews and Health

Tradition, History, and Practice


The contributions in Jews and Health: Tradition, History, Practice examine the significance of the preservation of physical, mental, and spiritual health in the Jewish tradition and in Jewish societies from ancient to modern times from multiple thematic and methodological perspectives. The authors -- Carmen Caballero Navas, Maria Diemling, William Friedman, Catherine Hezser, Magdaléna Jánošíková, Reuven Kiperwasser, Katherine E. Southwood, Irit Offer Stark, and Nimrod Zinger -- deal with definitions and representations of health in biblical, Jewish Hellenistic, rabbinic, medieval, and (early) modern Jewish texts and investigate practical measures to restore health after public and personal disasters. The focus on health distinguishes this volume from earlier works on Jewish medicine and makes it relevant for contemporary discussions on health maintenance and recuperation.

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Catherine Hezser (Dr. theol. 1986, Ph.D. 1992, Habil. 1997) is Professor of Jewish Studies at SOAS, University of London. Her book publications include Jewish Slavery in Antiquity (2005), Jewish Travel in Antiquity (2011), and Rabbinic Body Language (2017).
List of Contributors

1 Introduction: The Significance of Health in Jewish History, Culture, and Society
Catherine Hezser

2 Trauma, Brokenness and Pain in the Book of Lamentations: Empathetic Attention as a Hermeneutic for Thinking about the Restoration of Health
Katherine E. Southwood

3 Health and Hellenism: Philo of Alexandria’s Discourse on Health in the Context of Greek Philosophy and Hippocratic Medicine
Catherine Hezser

4 Definitions of the Human Body and the Order of Creation in Rabbinic Literature
Reuven Kiperwasser

5 Physical Strength and Weakness as Means of Social Stratification in Palestinian Rabbinic Discourse of Late Antiquity
Catherine Hezser

6 Medieval Jewish Views on the Preservation of Health at the Crossroads of the Arabic and Latin Medical Traditions
Carmen Caballero Navas

7 “The Trouble That Stalks in Darkness” (Ps 91:6): Jewish Resilience During the Plague in Early Modern Prague
Maria Diemling

8 Humoral Regimens of Health in the Jewish Medical Cultures of the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries
Magdaléna Jánošíková

9 Somatic and Spiritual Health in Times of Change: Kabbalists, Rabbis and New Approaches to Medicine in the Eighteenth Century
Nimrod Zinger

10 Health as a Jewish National Ideal in Early Zionist Writings
Catherine Hezser

11 Quality of Life versus Sanctity of Life: Euthanasia in Modern Halakhic Discourse and in Israeli Law
Irit Offer Stark and William Friedman

Subject Index
Students and scholars of Jewish Studies and the History of Medicine, as well as the general reader interested in Jews, Judaism, and health.
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