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The Representation of Bodily Pain in Late
                        Nineteenth–Century English Culture$
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Lucy Bending

Print publication date: 2000

Print ISBN-13: 9780198187172

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198187172.001.0001

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Medical Understandings of Pain

Medical Understandings of Pain

Chapter:
(p.52) 2 Medical Understandings of Pain
Source:
The Representation of Bodily Pain in Late Nineteenth–Century English Culture
Author(s):

Lucy Bending

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198187172.003.0003

This chapter discusses how medical explanations for pain, based on the body and its neurological organization, both created and went some way towards filling the gap in conceptualizing physical suffering left by the failure in Christian rationales of benevolently inflicted pain. Advances in medical knowledge breached Christian certitude as they undermined the naturalness of pain and put in its place a bodily function that could be removed, or at least alleviated, by chemical or surgical interference. Christianity was forced by its nature to accept pain not as a function of the body in distress, but rather as a counter in God's interaction with humankind.

Keywords:   medicine, medical profession, bodily pain, physical pain, Christianity

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