Ocular Pathology and Disease in the Bible and Talmud
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It is fascinating to consider that the health of one's eyes as well as medical issues of the eye, have had a considerable impact on multiple biblical personalities and important Talmudic literature. From Isaac’s impaired vision when blessing his sons to the ninth plague of darkness, eyesight or lack thereof, has an important role in Jewish Literature. This paper will explore how various classical Jewish commentators explain biblical descriptions of various eye conditions. These descriptions of ocular pathology will also be examined based on scientific understandings of ocular diseases. Ultimately this paper will attempt to combine a Rabbinic lens and a modern scientific lens to better flesh out and understand the role that vision and ocular disease have played throughout the Bible. Furthermore, Talmudic passages referencing the eyes will also be examined in light of ocular scientific knowledge today. Through this analysis, this paper will compare and contrast Rabbinic and scientific understandings of ocular pathology, highlighting some of their similarities.
Senior honors thesis / Opt-Out