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Might also be helpful for religious studies even though its a history paper Secular medicine and its attitudes towards leprosy in medieval Christian and Islamic communities were influenced by social and religious traditions Lack of real medical knowledge allowed these influences to affect the understanding and treatment of disease as well as the status of the leper in society Medieval views of leprosy in Christian and Islamic societies illustrated these ideas Despite their different cultures and religions there were some similar and analogous trains of thought in the understanding of this disease but different attitudes prevailed as well Treatment and understanding of leprosy in European society reflected many Christian ideas Fear of contagion and the unpleasant sight of the diseases symptoms led to the practice of separating the leper from the rest of society Palmer p80 This practice also reflected the biblical idea of the leper found in Leviticus which calls for the unclean leper to be cut off completely from society In some areas priests performed Levitical rituals of separating the leper from society Palmer p81 Lepers had their own special hospitals and churches outside of town and city walls and had to dress in special garb identifying their affliction Leper hospitals were under civic control but religious influence manifested itself in these institutions At a hospital in Verona Italy statutes required incoming patients confess to the hospital chaplain to gain admission Palmer p85 Lepers could lose legal rights in some areas being considered already dead their wives could remarry and they could lose control of their will Palmer p81 Ideas as to the cause and treatment differed but there were two main conflicting themes regarding the cause found in medieval Christian society One idea of the cause of leprosy was sin Sin in this case especially meant lechery Many physicians accepted the idea that leprosy was Gods punishment for
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