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date: 05 December 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Following some methodological remarks the chapter briefly reviews the vocabulary of sickness used in the biblical Hebrew text. It then examines instances of sickness and healing that are described in the Hebrew Bible, in order to establish how sickness is understood and how ritual might therefore relate to it. Aspects considered include the relationship between sickness and sin; whether and how YHWH is involved in causing sickness; epidemics versus individual cases of sickness; and instances of ritual action, broadly understood, that are used to address sickness-related issues. Such instances of ritual action include consulting a functionary such as a priest or prophet, and performing ritual laments and prayers either at home or at a shrine. Two instances of concerns relating to childbearing are also considered, both of which are pictured in the context of ritual action at a shrine.

Keywords: theology of sickness, healing, psalms of lament, barrenness, leprosy, plagues, Resheph, divine causality, sickness as punishment, sotah

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