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V. The healing of a man with dropsy

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Chapter Summary

Talmudic literature contains a number of interesting data on dropsy (hydrops). According to Rabbi Simeon ben Gamaliel, hidrokan (dropsy) is caused by keeping back the faeces. Sexual offences were punished with dropsy. The apostle Paul is credited with the healing of a man suffering from dropsy in Myra. He is said to have healed a certain Hermocrates, "not because he desired a reward, but through the name of Jesus Christ", whereupon Hermocrates had himself and his wife baptized. Such a healing is also ascribed to Apollonius. A young Assyrian, a habitual drinker, who as a result suffered from dropsy, begged the God Aesculapius to heal him. We can hardly see this heaIing as anything but a heaIing miracle, in which firstly the saving love of Jesus is revealed as a present and concrete reaIity, and secondly the sign is given that Jesus is "Lord" of the Sabbath.

Keywords: Aesculapius; Apollonius; apostle Paul; dropsy; Hermocrates; Jesus Christ; Lord of the Sabbath; Talmudic literature



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