Gems of "wisdom" from 'Science of the Bible: Was Jesus Really a Healer?"
The National Geographic Channel's "Science of the Bible".
What an exercise in the historical-critical approach to the Bible.
I have been watching this series, as someone interested in both Science and the Bible, for a few weeks now.
Today's episode questioned the veracity of Jesus as a healer.
"Did the Gospel writers stretch the truth in order to recruit new followers?"
"Jesus' control of the forces of nature is not something we can investigate with science"
"but we can probe the other type of miracle he performs..." (healing)
(they re-tell the miracle of the healing of the paralytic - you know, the guy they lowered through the roof)
"was this a miraculous event, or just a powerful story? here is where the rift between believers and nonbelievers begin... our goal is to bridge that gap"
let's examine the veracity of digging through a roof: the evidence indicates the roof part is "historically believable"
"Could the healing itself be equally real and effective??"
"the exaggeration of a zealous follower, or the account of a genuine healing...?"
"to understand what Jesus' healings meant to the people of Galilee, we have to know what diseases they suffered"
Ancient toilet paper. A sponge on a stick.
Mortality rates high. 50 50 chance to make it to 18. Almost no one lives past 50.
"Contagious diseases might have influenced the rules of Jewish Law"
i.e. Holiness code and quarantine. Lepers ostracised.
"Jesus touching a leper would have been a bit of a social shock to people"
Today leporosy has anti-biodics. We understand, of course. But then, the same word was the one for mildew in houses.
So now, they think, Jesus maybe was curing Excema or Psoriasis?
Some archaeaolist finds some old bones in a tomb, finds the cause of death is TB. Evidence that the person was a leper too.
"But what did Jesus have to offer that other healers didn't??"
How did science and faith meet, in the quest to relieve human suffering?
all they had was herbal remedies.
Then there's Sepphrois (the big fad to talk about in Jesus Childhood). Where they would use bloodletting. And skull drilling.
But surgery could not treat most illnesses. Jesus healed by means of faith. The most popular method at his time.
Some Greek cult is compared to Jesus, in the healing of chronic illnesses.
There were many other faith healers. What set Jesus apart?
Jews believed sickness caused by the supernatural....
Demons - exorcism - I stopped paying attention for a while here....
Jesus does not invoke the secret name of any angel to drive out demons....
he doesn't need it, he has the "finger of God"
Then there's the woman with the menstrual flow.
Jesus is "charged up with the healing power of God"
"But the Gospels date to about 50 years after Jesus died."
We're about "To solve the mystery of how Jesus REALLY performed his miracles"
Healings as a sign that he was the Messiah...
"Some scholars argue that this religious agenda was added into the Gospel accounts..."
Then, of course, there's the account of the raising of Lazarus...
"many people of faith accept the miracles of Jesus...."
"but our quest is to see how the mircales fit into Jesus' day to day ministry..."
So what is their conclusion???
"what do we know about the way Jesus healed???"
he used his authoritative voice and presence.
no "medical clues" about how he healed.
You would hear sparse details of Jesus' methods, over the years.
"Jesus may have used props like mud on a regular basis"
but many of these details may have been lost.
"We can't even be sure that Jesus was always successful in his healings"
those failure stories would "drop out"
today, physicians agree "faith can have an effect on a patient"
the placebo effect.
But something else Jesus did... he touched them. A "radical approach"
Jesus' willingness to touch people was a social statement
"his support for the underdog"
Can't prove or disprove. All we know is that "Jesus became known as a healer, as he is to this day"