The First Hospital: How Christian Charity Revolutionized Healthcare
This thesis will show how Christian charity, because of its focus on agape, the self-sacrificial love characteristic of Christ, produced a new kind of healthcare from which the hospital was born. The first chapter will explore Greco-Roman healthcare prior to the Christian Era, focusing on healing cults, Roman military hospitals, and public physicians. The second chapter will compare pagan philanthropy and Christian charity, paying particular attention to medicine and the underlying motives for goodwill toward others and the community. The final chapter will analyze Christian care for non-Christians during the Plague of Cyprian, before looking at Basil the Great’s hospital. The so-called Basileia is regarded as the first hospital in history and provided the template for later hospitals around the globe and throughout history. The conclusion will consider modern healthcare from the perspective of its Christian origins.