Université d'Erfurt


Prof. Dr. Manfred Horstmanshoff

ehemaliger Gastprofessor am Max-Weber-Kolleg

Prof. H.F.J. (Manfred) Horstmanshoff
Residentie Walesteyn
Vleerdamsedijk 11e
3235 NV Rockanje

Tel. +31 181 284482
Mob. +31 6 28382280



Forschungsprojekt (5/2015–06/2015)

Galen’s Personal Religion

What is the relationship between religion and science? Galen’s work and his personal life, as far as we know it, have bearing on this question. He was what today we would call a scientist, in his testing of hypotheses, his interest in methodology, his striving for truth. He was religious according to the standards of his time. His personal life was deeply influenced by a divine dispensation, when Asclepius summoned his father to let him study medicine. He obeys Asclepius when the god advises him in dreams on his theoretical work and when his own health is at stake. In his medical practice he allows dreams to play a role in diagnostics and he seems to accept religious healing. He considers his own anatomical work as a true hymn to the Creator, but on the other hand he repudiates the religious attitude of the Jews and Christians who he portrays as having an unfailing belief in God’s authority.

How do these different layers relate to each other: the involvement of Asclepius in his personal life, his belief in dreams as diagnostic tools and his veneration for the Creator? Were they integrated somehow for him, or is his personal religion an example of cognitive dissonance?

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