A Biblical View of Medicine - UICMC

PREREQUISITES: Students must have completed at least one clerkship.

PURPOSE: To compare the views of Maimonides' prayer to the physician to the Hippocratic oath with regard to:

  1. The human being (ideal versus the real)
  2. Disease (enemy or beneficient messenger)
  3. Physician (servant of the art or of God)
  4. Healing (static perfection versus dynamic wholeness)


COMPETENCIES: The course presents to the student an alternative view of the human being, disease, the role of the physician, and the conception of healing. The course will show the student how to apply this knowledge in his therapeutic relationship with his patients, to understand where the patient is coming from, and to be able to speak and communicate in a way that the patient and loved ones can best comprehend.  A Biblical Approach to medicine will help aid in this effort. By the end of the rotation, students will be able to:

  • Construct a therapeutic plan for relieving pain, ameliorating suffering and directed toward specific resolution of health problems
    Sprituality and related practices are more and more commonly accepted and used in the health-care setting. It is often helpful and therapeutic for physicians to be able to acknowledge (to patients and their loved one) the assistance of meditation, prayer and other calming holistic, spiritual practices in relieving pain and suffering. Biblical Psychology will demonstrate the effective use of a holistic mindset as a basis for treatment as well as for relieving pain and suffering.
  • Counsel and educate patients and their families
    Patients and their loved ones often have deep, firmly-held spiritual beliefs. Biblical Psychology can aid in instructing physicians concerning positive ways to communicate and counsel with patients and their families.
  • Can deal with uncertainty and respects the opinions of others
    When a patient's deeply-held spirituatl beliefs access the uncertainty in life and-at times-the uncertainty in medical treatment, the physician can recognize the usefulness of that belief system. biblical Psychology can assist in helping physicians deal with gray areas in life, and specifically in patient care. Biblical Psychology can also demonstrate a respectful attitude towards several approaches that use spirituality.
  • Listens attentively and effectively
    Biblical Psychology can demonstrate a holistic attitude and mindset that meshes closely with active, attentive listening.
  • Communicates clearly with patients and patients' families
    Patients and their loved ones often have deep-firmly-held spiritual beliefs. Biblical Psychology can aid in instructing physicians concerning positive ways to communicate clearly with patients and their families.  


INSTRUCTIONAL FEATURES: The length of the course is 1 week of credit (decompressed over 2 weeks). Learning activities includes: on-line lectures, discussions, reading of texts and papers, and a term paper.

Recommended Texts:
Golden, W.W. (1900). Maimonides' prayer for physicians. Transactions of the Medical Society of West Virginia, 33: 414-15.

Hippocratic Writings. (1984). Trans.F.Adams. In Great books of the Western World, Vol. 10, ed. R.M.Hutchins. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Kaplan, K.J., Schwartz, M.B. and Jones, E.R. (2010). "A Biblical View of Health, Sickness and Healing: Overcoming the Traditional Greek View of Medicine". In J.H. Ellens (Ed.) The Healing Power of Spirituality, How Religion Helps Humans Thrive, Vol.3: Pyschodynamics, Westport, CT: Praeger, Chapter 12, 230-242.

ASSESSMENT: Students wwill be assessed through class discussions and a ten-page paper.


Program Number: ELEC 216
Program Director: Kalman J. Kaplan, PhD
E-Mail: kalkap@aol.com, kkaplan@psych.uic.edu
Telephone: 312-413-4609
Duration: 1 week of credit (decompressed over 2 weeks)
Night Call: No
Weekends: No
Students Accepted: Min. 4 Max. 8
Housestaff Used as Faculty: N/A
Lectures/Conferences/Faculty Contact: 4 hours
Laboratory/Independent Study:  4 hours
Outpatient: N/A
Inpatient: N/A
Total Hours/Week: 16 hours

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