“God with Us” on the Belt Buckle

Paul U. Unschuld

in What Is Medicine?

Published by University of California Press

Published in print September 2009 | ISBN: 9780520257658
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520944701 | DOI:
“God with Us” on the Belt Buckle

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This chapter focuses on two contributors to history of therapeutics. One of them is the pastor and population statistician, Johann Peter Süssmilch (1707–1767). He wrote a work on therapeutics and announced with certainty that all illnesses come from God. The other is a physician and propagator of public health, Johann Peter Frank (1745–1821), who wrote a work on medicine and announced with certainty that people get sick because social conditions make them sick. They considered the individual's health to be the foundation of the strength of the modern state, which depended on healthy workers for manufacturing and healthy soldiers for the military. Johann Peter Frank and some of his contemporaries rang in a new era. Therapeutics was adapted to the explanatory models that guaranteed the efficient performance of the modern state. A medicine was created that was distinct from all other forms of therapeutics. It understood the organism solely on the foundation of laws of nature, chemistry, and physics, via biochemistry and biophysics.

Keywords: history of therapeutics; illnesses; social conditions; modern state; medicine; laws of nature

Chapter.  662 words. 

Subjects: Medical Anthropology

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