A Faithful Man Suffering in Illness: Religious and Medical Perspectives on the Book of Job
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Many works have examined the sufferings of Job in the Bible, but few have focused specifically on Job’s disease. To gain insight into the relationship between religion and illness, this thesis looks at Job as a religious man struggling with sickness. First, I use the text of Job to determine what physical and mental diseases could have plagued Job. Next, I conduct an interdisciplinary analysis on the relationship between religion and health in Job from medical, religious coping, psychosocial, neurobiological, and theological perspectives to consider why Job turns to God in illness and how religious beliefs and illness influence each other in Job. Lastly, I apply these findings to the contemporary world. Major conclusions include that Job could be diagnosed with depression, that hope in illness is found not in understanding the meaning behind disease but in reaching for a transcendent being or purpose, and that a biopsychosocial-spiritual model is integral to understanding health. The implications of this thesis are relevant to suffering patients, health care providers, scholars of religion and disease, and anyone supporting a loved one through illness.