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The Deepest SenseA Cultural History of Touch$
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Constance Classen

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780252034930

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252034930.001.0001

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Painful Times

Painful Times

(p.47) Chapter Three Painful Times
The Deepest Sense

Constance Classen

University of Illinois Press

This chapter explores the dimensions of touch in pain and suffering. It looks at the role of touch in the common ailments of premodern life as well as in the use of treatments. In addition, the chapter considers the role of religious touch in treating and curing ailments. This chapter also examines the sensuality of the blind, before moving on to more severe health issues such as leprosy, the Black Death, and the dancing mania, or St. Vitus's Dance. Next, the chapter discusses the uses and ubiquity of pain in human experience, then turns to the particular difficulties of sensation in the afterlife—most notably in Christian theological conceptions of hell. Finally, the chapter examines the feelings of sorrow and compassion.

Keywords:   suffering, disease, blindness, leprosy, Black Death, dancing mania, pain, hell, sorrow, compassion

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