Medieval hospitals topic of season's first MSU Faculty Forum

Medieval hospitals topic of season's first MSU Faculty Forum

Medieval hospitals topic of season's first MSU Faculty Forum

The first speaker for the fall season of Midwestern State University's Faculty Forum will explore 12th century Europe for a subject that is still hot today - health care. Faculty Forum, a showcase for the research and creative efforts of MSU's faculty, will be held at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 18, at the Wichita Falls Museum of Art at MSU.

Assistant Professor of History Tiffany A. Ziegler's topic will be "Practice Hospitality and Entertain God Himself: The Medieval Municipal Hospital of Saint John in Brussels." The talk borrows from her upcoming book, Medieval Healthcare and the Rise of Charitable Institutions: The History of the Municipal Hospital, which is being published by Palgrave MacMillan.

Ziegler's research shows that the institution of the hospital is as old as civilization itself. Care for the sick and injured was overseen by temple healers in ancient Egypt, India, and China, while institutions for those afflicted by various maladies could be found in Greek, Roman, and Arabian communities. Similar institutions of the Middle Ages, however, took on a different character than their ancient predecessors and near-eastern contemporaries.

The central Middle Ages brought about a resurgence of trade and a blossoming of cities teaming with inhabitants. Crowded in the confines of a city, the poor and sick became increasingly visible. For Christian medieval societies, institutional charity was a necessity set forth by the religion's dictums - care for the needy and sick was a tenant of the faith, leading to a unique partnership between Christianity and institutional care. Men and women alike sought out a life inspired by that of Christ and his apostles. They took to heart Jesus' teachings that those who provided care would find eternal salvation: "I was sick and you took care of me" (Matthew 25:36). The hospital was reborn as a uniquely Christian institution.

The hospital of Saint John in Brussels is an example of the developments. Ziegler will demonstrate that Saint John's was not only vital to the people of the city but that it also became the model for later medieval municipal hospitals. It followed the pattern of the establishment of medieval charitable institutions in the High Middle Ages, but later diverged to become the archetype for Christian hospitals.

The next Faculty Forum speaker will be the 2017 Hardin Professor and Associate Professor of Engineering Dr. Salim Azzouz at 7 p.m. Nov. 21 in Legacy Hall Learning Center. His topic will be "Working on Quasi-Continuously Variable Transmissions with Senior Design Students."

Faculty Forum is an opportunity for the campus and Wichita Falls communities to learn, engage, and discuss the ideas and explorations of the individuals who teach, discover, and create at MSU. Admission is free and open to all. The 2017-2018 Faculty Forum committee is Whitney Snow, Eduardo Colmenares-Diaz, and Jonathan Price. Contact Price at or 940-397-4288 for more information.