Which Religion Did Most For Medicine in the Middle Ages- Christianity or Islam?

Essay by Muse October 2004

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In the Middle Ages there were two main civilisations: Christianity and Islam. They both developed their own theories about medicine and treatment. It has been argued that both religions have the best medical treatment, though they have many similarities. Even though they have a lot of theories the same, the qualities of the cultures were different therefore they believed different things.

The similarities in treatments are mainly due to ancient medical writers, e.g. Hippocrates and Galen. Both religions believed that they were right so they did not dispute their findings, i.e. the four humours, and ideas on anatomy, and this held them both back. Islam greatly respected the ancient writings. These books were placed in libraries that were built in both places, though the Middle East had more since few European people could read because Christianity was a less literate society.

Both religions holy book's dictated what they believed in because they thought that all knowledge needed for medicine was in the Koran/Bible.

They thought there was no point in looking for new discoveries since it was all in there. For religious reasons, dissection wasn't allowed in Islam, and this held them back on knowledge of anatomy. In Christianity, only one body a year was allowed for dissection in medical school.

In both religions, their holy books preach that you have to help others less fortunate then you. In Islam, they took this very seriously so they built large hospitals in the major cities designed for taking care of the poor and treating them. In Christianity, they had hospitals, but they specialised in 'hospitality' and not the actual treating of people. Only 10% of hospitals actually treated the sick in England.

There were few differences between the faiths; one was the qualities that each faith's members...