Carrying on the Healing Mission of Christ: Medical Ethics in the Christian Tradition

  • Willem Jacobus Eijk
Conference paper
Part of the Acta Neurochirurgica Supplements book series (NEUROCHIRURGICA, volume 74)


Speaking of the traditional Christian approach of medical ethics, we should be aware of the fact that, though Christianity has existed for nearly two millennia, medical ethics as a distinct discipline dates from the late Middle Ages and the Renaissance. Antoninus of Florence (archbishop of Florence, 1389–1459) was the first theologian devoting a separate chapter to the various obligations of physicians in his Repertoriumtotius Summae [1]. The first books exclusively dealing with medical ethical judicial (and juridical) questions were De Christiana ac tuta medendi ratione of Baptista Codronchi (physician at Imola, 1547–1628) [2], Quaestionum Medico-Legalium Opus absolutissimum of Paolo Zacchia, (1584–1659, physician general of the Vatican State) [3], and Ventilabrum medicotheologicum of the physician and theologian Michael Boudewyns [4]. Among Protestants, medical ethics became a special branch of theological ethics with the Anglican situation ethicist Joseph Fletcher [5] and the more traditional Methodist Paul Ramsey [6].


Medical Ethic Human Person Christian Tradition Christian Doctrine Absolute Good 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Wien 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Willem Jacobus Eijk
    • 1
  1. 1.Faculty of TheologyLuganoSwitzerland

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