Conference discusses health and demonic possession

Researchers and medievalists from around the world gathered at the University of Nottingham recently to discuss 'Health and the Healthy Body' in early medieval times, 400-1200AD. The conference covered such diverse topics as demonic possession and Norse diet.

The focus of the conference was "our ancestors' view of sickness, spiritual healing, diet, disability, burial rituals, exorcism, divine intervention, Hebrew medical manuscripts and Christian concepts of the healthy body."

Dr Christina Lee, of The University of Nottingham's School of English Studies, said, “Our own reaction to disease and healing, such as for example the hotly-debated stem cell research, is also linked to contemporary views. By looking at past societies we may be able to understand more about our own attitudes. There is a question of what position the sick and impaired hold within a society or how much illness is accepted as part of life, which may differ from modern views where the prevalent idea is that afflictions should be cured and the expectation that bodies should 'function' normally.”