is this tm to write for an 8 mark question lol (no caps on purpose)
explain the significance of the church in the treatment of illness in the middle ages (8 marks)
the church proved extremely influential in the treatment of disease. christians believed it was their religious duty to care for the sick which led to the opening of many public hospitals by the church. although their main purpose was to care for the sick and elderly instead of treating diseases, these still allowed many people to recover from their illnesses. many churches opened up universities where doctors could be trained and gain more medical knowledge.
however, there was a strong belief that god sent down illnesses and for that reason the treatment of illnesses was seen as challenging god which showcases their idea of caring for patients rather than curing them, and this very much helped to hinder medical treatment. christian treatments fit along the lines of prayer and repentance, pilgrimage of whipping oneself for their sins. as the church was extremely influential and controlled much of the beliefs of people throughout the middle ages, this allowed the continuity of their supernatural explanations of disease. religious believers would go to special masses and pilgrimages to free themselves of sin and hope to recover from illness and during the black death, flagellation was extremely popular with many going as far as to do them publicly to show god how sorry they were for their sins. all of these factors prevented any medical treatments coming to light and led to many people dying of their diseases, hence proving the negative influence of the church.
the church also encouraged the teachings of galen as they “fitted” with the beliefs of the church - disease was caused by humoral imbalance. this promoted the fact that god designed human bodies to be perfect and doctors were prevented from criticising the work of galen. the church has control over printing and education which allowed these beliefs to be spread rapidly and prevented doctors from making any breakthroughs in medicine.there was a lack of progress in medicine due to the fact that the church’s control of medical training tried making new discoveries fit into old theories. the church outlawed dissection so doctors were unable to discover new ideas about the human body which led to the limitation of their knowledge and no room for any cures or treatments to be made.
to conclude, the church significantly hindered any developments in medical knowledge during the middle ages. due to england being a christian-majority country and the fact that most people were uneducated, this allowed the church to greatly influence the beliefs of the population by encouraging treatments that fit the christian belief such as prayer and repentance. the church also prevented doctors from gaining any medical knowledge by banning dissection and essentially learning about the human body wasn’t allowed which led to doctors creating the wrong treatments. they even encouraged the incorrect ideas of galen which all in all further slowed down any development of medical treatments in the middle ages.