leprosyoral last version

leprosyoral last version - Topic: Papers that historicize...

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Topic: Papers that historicize theories of disability through the study of the construction and representation of disability in lit. .and culture before 1600. Few misfortunes in life were feared as much as a diagnosis of leprosy in the Middle Ages, for the disease meant a separation of its victim from society, and was a predictor of disfigurement and death. The Medieval author who depicted a leper in his work understood that he was introducing more than just an illness, for leprosy was viewed as a punishment levied by G-d. With his short, late 12 th century work, Der Arme Heinrich, Poor Henry , Hartmann von Aue (1170 -1210/20). deals with these themes, depicting the manner in which an otherwise perfect knight suffers from the biblical sin of Superbia , and is thus stricken with leprosy. Hartmann examines the reaction of the protagonist, as well as those around him, to this affliction, and the process by which a cure is effected. His subtext treats both social, historical, and religious themes, thereby transmitting not only a moral and didactic lesson to his audience, but a realistic depiction of the manner in which leprosy was viewed in the twelfth century as well. This paper seeks to examine the disease of leprosy as a physical as well as spiritual disability, in both its historical and cultural contexts, as well as in its literary representation in Der arme Heinrich. Attitudes towards leprosy in the Middle Ages were forged by the religious nature of the times, and thus, the Old and New Testaments formed the foundation for the understanding of the disease. The concept of leprosy as a punishment for sin, and the depiction of the treatment of the leper in the Bible will be the first topics of discussion. A skin disease frequently translated as leprosy was already described and discussed at length in the Old Testament (Leviticus Chapters 13-14), although the biblical term
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“tzaras” may not necessarily denote what we today term leprosy. SHOULD I DISCUSS HOW TZARAS WAS TRANSLATED IN ERROR, BECOMING TERMED LEPROSY? IT IS INTERESTING, BUT I WILL HAVE TO DELETE SWOMETHING ELSE. The disease was thought to be a punishment from G-d, predominantly for the sin of slander. The Hebrew word for a person afflicted with Tzaras, Metzorah, indicates this, as it is a contraction of the two words Motzie and Rah , “one who spreads slander” (Talmud Arachin 15b). The Sages also teach that the affliction is the punishment for sins of false oaths, bloodshed, sexual impropriety, robbery, pride, and selfishness – all sins of self-centeredness, and failure to feel the needs of others (Arachin 16a and Midrashim). Many of the biblical treatments of a Metzorah were carried transferred to the leper of medieval times. The Metzorah was required to live in isolation outside the city gates, being punished in the biblical manner of “measure for measure ( middah kneged middah }. Just as his sin of slander caused people to be separated from one another, so should the
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leprosyoral last version - Topic: Papers that historicize...

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