Tag Archives: Old Testament

The snake, the staff, and the healer

Simon Wein Petach Tikvah, Israel   The Rod of Asclepius, graphite on paper, by Daniel Wein, 2021. Introduction In some ancient cultures, especially around the Near East, the snake was involved in healing. Today this seems counterintuitive. There are as many as 130,000 deaths from snake bites worldwide each year and three times that number […]

The memorial of Thomas Johnson, eighteenth-century barber surgeon

Stephen Martin Durham, UK, and Thailand   Fig 1. Monument to Thomas Johnson, Brancepeth. Source: photo © author. Public domain for non-commercial use In the churchyard of St. Brandon in Brancepeth1 village, County Durham, UK, is an unusual headstone monument.2 (Fig 1) Dating to the very last year of the eighteenth century, it has three […]

A brief history of kidney transplantation

Laura Carreras-Planella Marcella Franquesa Ricardo Lauzurica Francesc E. Borràs Barcelona, Spain   We may think of renal transplantation as routine therapy today, but this procedure has taken centuries to develop and is marked by important events in the history of science. An ancient description of the kidneys is found in the Egyptian Ebers Papyrus, dated […]

The scourge, the scientist, and the swindle

Anne Jacobson Oak Park, Illinois, United States   Alice Augusta Ball, 1915. (Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain) “The leprous person who has the disease shall wear torn clothes and let the hair of his head hang loose, and he shall cover his upper lip and cry out, ‘Unclean, unclean.’ He shall remain unclean as long as […]

The Plague of Ashdod, by Nicholas Poussin

The Plague of Ashdod, Poussin’s famous painting of 1630, is based on the Old Testament account of an epidemic affecting the Philistines after they had captured the Ark of the Covenant from the Israelites and moved it to their coastal city of Ashdod. According to Samuel 1:5, the Lord first destroyed the statue of their […]

Taking the bat out of Hell

Tajri Salek Birmingham, UK   Fig. 1 The Destruction of Job’s Sons, from Illustrations of the Book of Job, 1825–26. Engraving by William Blake. Collection in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Copyright: Public Domain, Universal (CC0 1.0). “Listen to them, the children of the night. What music they make!” ― Bram Stoker, Dracula   If you […]