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Title: Preaching in medical terms: Matthew Griffith's the catholique doctor and his spiritual catholicon to cure our sinfull soules (1661)
Authors: Rodríguez-Álvarez, Alicia 
UNESCO Clasification: 57 Lingüística
Keywords: Medical literature
specialized language
Issue Date: 2009
Publisher: 0039-3274
Journal: Studia Neophilologica 
Abstract: Science in general, and particularly the field of medicine, underwent an extraordinary advance in seventeenth-century England. As printing allowed the diffusion of medical literature, an extensive body of learned and popular medical writings became available to a wider sector of the population. In this context, Matthew Griffith delivered The Catholique Doctor and His Spititual Catholicon to Cure Our Sinfull Soules (1661) – reedited as The Spiritual Antidote to Cure Our Sinful Souls in 1662 – a sermon built on a series of medical analogies based on the commonplace metaphor of Christ as Physician of human souls. Although medicine and religion had traditionally held a close relationship that enabled preachers to draw on medical material to compose their sermons, Griffith's use of Medicine is not confined to a group of medical analogies meant to introduce different biblical teachings. All throughout his sermon, Griffith exposes the congregation (formed by a group of judges and sergeants at law) to real, everyday medical jargon; references to ancient and recent medical authorities; accounts of certain medical disorders and remedies; and evaluations about the skills and limitations of physicians. This information is rendered using the same terms that the congregants could find in contemporary remedy-books. Griffith's incorporation of medical knowledge and practice into preaching, alongside the different degrees of difficulty that characterize his medical discourse, somehow bear witness to (i) the popularity of self-treatment manuals, recipe books and scientific movements in Early Modern England, especially among learned members of the community, (ii) Griffith's acquaintance with the medical profession, and (iii) the author's awareness of how such a specialized language could appeal to his audience and have didactic potential to deliver the pastoral message.
ISSN: 0039-3274
DOI: 10.1080/00393270903388621
Source: Studia Neophilologica[ISSN 0039-3274],v. 81, p. 103-115
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