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Disease and dissent: Paracelsus and the reform of medicine in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries

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dc.contributor.author Ford, Katrina
dc.date.accessioned 2011-05-31T01:41:28Z
dc.date.accessioned 2022-10-26T06:49:22Z
dc.date.available 2011-05-31T01:41:28Z
dc.date.available 2022-10-26T06:49:22Z
dc.date.copyright 2000
dc.date.issued 2000
dc.identifier.uri https://ir.wgtn.ac.nz/handle/123456789/24601
dc.description.abstract Previous interpretations of Paracelsus have concentrated on the philosophical and theological basis of his thought. This thesis seeks to draw attention to the congruence between Paracelsus' socio-religious commitments and his understanding of disease and therapy. In the sixteenth century, several new conceptions of pathology arose which questioned the orthodox Galenic understanding of health and disease. The most significant of these challenges stemmed from the theories of Paracelsus. Rejecting the orthodox notion of disease as a qualitative imbalance particular to the individual, Paracelsus emphasised an understanding of disease as a specific entity, which could be treated using substances produced through alchemical processes. This occurred as orthodox medicine was attempting to enhance its intellectual and social authority by emphasising the superiority of its own approach to the understanding and treatment of disease. These opposing constructions of disease and therapy stemmed from different understandings of the role of medicine in society. While Paracelsus' reform of pathology and therapy was a product of his theosophical speculations, it was also a form of religious and social dissent. His approach to the understanding of disease was inspired by his egalitarian vision of the place of medicine in a new society based on the Christian ethics of love and poverty. Paracelsus' emphasis upon chemical remedies for specific disease entities was more suited to this context of medical practice among a brotherhood of man. By contrast, the orthodox conception of disease and treatment was more appropriate to the practice of medicine amongst the social elite. As a result, Paracelsus' approach to medicine often found favour with those who dealt with the medical needs of a broader mass of the population. Debates over pathological theory and therapeutic practices in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries were therefore part of broader concerns about the function of medicine in a changing society. en_NZ
dc.format pdf en_NZ
dc.language en_NZ
dc.language.iso en_NZ
dc.publisher Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington en_NZ
dc.title Disease and dissent: Paracelsus and the reform of medicine in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries en_NZ
dc.type Text en_NZ
vuwschema.type.vuw Awarded Research Masters Thesis en_NZ
thesis.degree.discipline History en_NZ
thesis.degree.grantor Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington en_NZ
thesis.degree.level Masters en_NZ

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