The History of Medicine and Religion

The relationship between religion and medicine dates back to ancient times, when religious cults offered medical care to the poor. During the Middle Ages, the church was the only organisation in Europe that provided training to doctors. These doctors were taught by the church, which adapted ideas from Hippocrates and Galen. The church’s teachings were considered to be the word of God and, as a result, medical knowledge stagnated.

Medicine and religion have contributed to the development of modern medicine

While we have many examples of ancient physicians, we need to understand their motivations and their methods. Historically, both medicine and religion were developed in the same way, with different perspectives and approaches. In order to gain a better understanding of how religion has affected medicine, we should consider how the Protestant Reformation affected the development of medical practice. This period was characterized by numerous controversies and disagreements. The book argues that both traditions have contributed to the development of modern medicine.


While the earliest medical traditions include China, Egypt, and India, the most significant is the ancient Greek tradition. The Indian physician Sushruta introduced concepts like diagnosis and prognosis. In the fifth century BCE, the Hippocratic Oath was written, which inspired physicians to take the oath of office. Improvements in surgery began in the Middle Ages. The Greek physician Rogerius helped standardize surgical practices, and universities began training physicians around 1220 CE.