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Disease and Healing in a Changing World: 'Medical' Vocabulary and the Woman with the 'Issue of Blood' in the Vetus Latina Mark 5:25–34 and Luke 8:40–48

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The Vetus Latina, or 'Old Latin Bible,' comprises a diverse collection of Latin biblical texts which encompasses unauthorised versions of the Bible translated into Latin. These Old Latin manuscripts reflect the early struggle for a 'proper' understanding of biblical texts, which is interesting for the healing stories of 'female patients' like the woman with 'the issue of blood'. This paper argues that parallel to the spread of medical knowledge beyond medical circles, medical designations arise, some similar to, some strikingly different from, those current in medical discourses. The Vetus Latina 'Afra' and 'European' text tradition avoid all references to uncleanness for Mark 5:25–34 and Luke 8:40–48: In the Markan narrative, however, the manuscripts condense the medical nomenclature of illness in a medical correct manner, which is not seen consistently in Luke 8:40–48.
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Keywords: AULUS CORNELIUS CELSUS; CAELIUS AURELIANUS; CASSIUS FELIX; LATIN MEDICAL VOCABULARY; NORTH AFRICA; PURITY AND IMPURITY; ROMAN MEDICINE; THEODORUS PRISCIANUS; VETUS LATINA MARK AND LUKE; VULGATE

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 1, 2017

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  • Religion in the Roman Empire (RRE) is bold in the sense that it intends to further and document new and integrative perspectives on religion in the Ancient World combining multidisciplinary methodologies. Starting from the notion of "lived religion" it will offer a space to take up recent, but still incipient, research to modify and cross the disciplinary boundaries of History of Religion, Archaeology, Anthropology, Classics, Ancient History, Jewish History, Rabbinics, New Testament, Early Christianity, Patristics, Coptic Studies, Gnostic and Manichean Studies, Late Antiquity and Oriental Languages. We hope to stimulate the development of new approaches that can encompass the local and global trajectories of the multidimensional pluralistic religions of antiquity.

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