Ophthalmic Healing in the Bible: New Insights and Analysis

Ophthalmic Healing in the Bible: New Insights and Analysis

#Ophthalmic #Healing #Bible #Insights #Analysis

What do you think?

2 Comments

Leave a Reply
  1. The ophthalmic healings recorded in the Bible occurred when cataract surgery was becoming known in the ancient world. Any authority, whether divine or human, had an interest in presenting the healings in a manner which would resonate with readers. We compared ancient religious and medical texts with respect to healing the blind. The analysis is not intended to question the historical accuracy of either type of text. Cyrus the Great (6th c. BCE) released the Jews from their captivity in Babylon, imported an oculist (eye doctor) to that region, and was compared in the book of Isaiah with a Messiah who could cure blindness. The book of Isaiah was cited by all 4 Gospels as the source of prophecies which would be fulfilled by the Messiah. The Book of Tobit (200 BCE) recounted an ophthalmic healing by touching the eyes. The cure of the blindness of Saint Paul when Ananias touched his eyes in about 34 CE is distinctive in that we have long-term patient follow-up of a historical figure. The Romans were led in their war against the Jews (66-70 CE) by Vespasian, who was said to have performed an ophthalmic healing using his saliva. Jesus also performed ophthalmic healings with his saliva, according to the Gospels which were written during or after this war. For both ophthalmic and otolaryngologic healings, Jesus actually touched the affected part of the patient, in contrast with other types of healings, in which Jesus spoke, sometimes from a distance, and sometimes to a family member about a remote patient, or the patient touched Jesus’ garment. The healing of the man born blind in the Gospel of John demonstrates an understanding of amblyopia (“lazy eye”) which is found in no other Greco-Roman texts, but which is understood in the Buddhist Lotus Sutra and the Nirvana Sutra. Other aspects in ancient religious texts are similar to the teachings in medical texts: the favorable prognosis of residual vision preoperatively, a 3-day preoperative fast, the use of both hands, the healing value of carp gall, the occasional need for retreatments, and a bath to mark the end of the healing period. Religious texts provide clues about the nature of ophthalmic healing in antiquity.

Leave a Reply