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The Physiology of Vice in the Middle Ages

Forskningsprojekt Projektet handlar om kroppar och själar, särskilt om läkarvetenskap och religion under medeltiden. Därvid anser det hur präster änvände läkarvetenskap både som en metafor och som en material praktik, för att diagnosera och behandla människor.

The project is about bodies and souls, or medicine and religion in the Middle Ages. It studies material and naturalistic explanations for human behavior through the widely applied model of the seven deadly sins: pride, envy, anger, avarice, sloth, lechery and gluttony. In so doing, it considers how priests used medicine, both as metaphor and as material practice, in diagnosing and treating people who came before them to confess their sins. Two important movements occur in this period: the codification of confession and the emergence of medicine as an academic study. Both events resulted in the circulation and translation of these texts.




2011-10-01 2013-09-30


Finansår , 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020

huvudman: Virginia Langum, finansiar: Riksbankens Jubileumsfond, y2003: , y2004: , y2005: , y2006: , y2007: , y2008: , y2009: , y2010: , y2011: , y2012: , y2013: , y2014: , y2015: , y2016: , y2017: , y2018: , y2019: , y2020: ,

Medverkande institutioner och enheter vid Umeå universitet

Institutionen för språkstudier


Folkhälsovetenskap och hälsovetenskap, Idéhistoria, Moderna språk, Religionsvetenskap och teologi


This project considers how scientists, theologians, priests, and poets approached the relationship of the human body and ethics in the later Middle Ages. Is medicine merely a metaphor for sin? Or can certain kinds of bodies physiologically dispose people to be angry, sad, or greedy? If so, then is it their fault? Virginia Langum offers an account of the medical imagery used to describe feelings and actions in religious and literary contexts, referencing a variety of behavioral discussions within medical contexts. The study draws upon medical and theological writing for its philosophical basis, and upon more popular works of religion, as well as poetry, to show how these themes were articulated, explored, and questioned more widely in medieval culture.

Senast uppdaterad: 2019-11-26