Medical Anthropology of the Christian Church

  1. Lemma
  2. Медицинская антропология христианской церкви
  3. Russian
  4. Asliturk, Miriam
  5. Scientific theories and disciplines > Medicine - Orthodox Anthropology - Scientific theories and disciplines > Psychology-Psychoanalysis
  6. 20-10-2017
  7. Шевченко, А.А. [Author]. Медицинская антропология христианской церкви
  8. Научные ведомости Белгородского государственного университета. Серия: Философия. Социология. Право.
  9. Russian Orthodoxy - treatment of disease - Orthodox spirituality - anthropology - medicine - traditional medicine - salvation - salvation as healing
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    1. <p>Шевченко, А. А. (2012). Медицинская антропология христианской Церкви.<em> Научные ведомости Белгородского государственного университета. Серия: Философия. Социология. Право</em>, 21 (14 (133)), 102-119. Retrieved from: <a href=""></a> </p>
    1. The author argues that modern medicine is characterized by a process of dehumanization, which is currently studied by medical specialists and social scientists alike. The emergence in the 20th century of medical anthropology in the United States and Western Europe (and its integration into medical training) represents an attempt to remedy this situation. Medical anthropology (still little known in Russia) is a discipline that emerged at the intersection of cultural, social, biological and linguistic anthropology. It aims to study cultural, social and biological factors that affect health, the course of disease and the process of its treatment. The objects of medical anthropology are: medical systems of various types existing in different societies including traditional medicine; integration of alternative medical systems in culturally diverse spaces; doctor-patient relations; biomedicine; interaction between environmental, biological and social factors that affect health and disease, and the influence of medicine on culture.

      The author points out that despite many attempts to brake away from the “naturalistic” approach to medicine and disease, which consists in seeing illnesses only as a physical phenomenon, Western medicine still tends to ignore the integrity of the person, his psychological, spiritual and social dimension – what in Christian tradition is defined as personality. According to the author, this leads to inevitable helplessness of medicine in the treatment of a number of diseases. He believes that medicine needs to be revised and take into consideration Orthodox Christian anthropology, which takes a holistic approach toward patients.

      Orthodox Christianity sees a sick person as an active agent; someone who has brought a disease upon oneself by his/her own actions. In Christian understanding, the doctor should not only help a suffering patient, but also teach the patient to find him/herself through illness. Disease is important not only to those who suffer, but also to those who witness it. Illnesses help overcome the duality of soul and body. Orthodoxy teaches that the body and the soul are not separate entities, but two aspects of one being. Doctors, therefore, have the responsibility to help patients understand their body, accept it and change it.

      The psychosomatic unity of human nature, affirmed by Christianity, allows the author to conclude that psychosomatic diseases are a part of medicine, not a narrow group of diseases. All human diseases are in fact psychosomatic. Disease as a psychosomatic unity unfolding in time has a direct bearing on the Christian understanding of history, which is the history of salvation. Thus, according to the author, in the Orthodox Christian anthropological paradigm, a person cannot ignore the moral value of suffering, he/she needs forgiveness and vows, and to correct the past and future for the sake of recovery. The concept of personality is the fundamental concept that allows one to hope for the possibility of a fruitful dialogue between medicine and medical anthropology, which should include Orthodox anthropology.