Natural evil is evil for which "no non-divine agent can be held morally responsible for its occurrence." By contrast, moral evil is “caused by human activity.” The existence of natural evil challenges belief in the omnibenevolence or the omnipotence of deities and the existence of deities including God. Moral evil results from a perpetrator, or one who acts intentionally and in so doing has flouted some duty or engaged in some vice. Natural evil has only victims, is taken to be the result of natural processes; the "evil" thus identified is evil only from the perspective of those affected and who perceive it as an affliction. Examples include cancer, birth defects, earthquakes, hurricanes, acts of God, other phenomena which inflict suffering with no accompanying mitigating good; such phenomena inflict "evil" on victims with no perpetrator to blame. In the Bible, God is portrayed as both the ultimate creator and perpetrator, since the “sun and stars, celestial activity, dew, hail, rain, snow and wind are all subject to God's command.”
Examples of natural evils ascribed to God follow: Floods: God brought “a flood of waters on the earth”. Thunder, lightning: God “sent thunder and hail, fire came down”. Destructive Wind: God sent a “great wind” that destroyed Job’s house and killed his family. Earthquake: By the Lord “the earth will be shaken”. Drought and Famine: God will shut off rains, so neither land nor trees yield produce. Forest fires: God says, “Say to the southern forest,'I will kindle a fire in you, it shall devour every green tree in you and every dry tree'”. Traditional theism distinguishes between God's will and God's permission, claiming that while God permits evil, he does not will it; this distinction is echoed by some modern open theists, e.g. Gregory A. Boyd, who writes, "Divine goodness does not control or in any sense will evil." Aquinas explained this in terms of primary and secondary causality, whereby God is the primary cause of the world, but not the secondary cause of everything that occurs in it. Such accounts explain the presence of natural evil through the story of the Fall of man, which affected not only human beings, but nature as well.
Since the Reformation the distinction between God's will and God's permission, between primary and secondary causality, has been disputed, notably by John Calvin. Among modern inheritors of this tradition, Mark R. Talbot ascribes evil to God: “God’s foreordination is the ultimate reason why everything comes about, including the existence of all evil persons and things and the occurrence of any evil acts or events.” Such models of God's complete foreordination and direct willing of everything that happens lead to the doctrines of double predestination and limited atonement. Jean Jacques Rousseau responded to Voltaire's criticism of the optimists by pointing out that the value judgement required in order to declare the 1755 Lisbon earthquake a natural evil ignored the fact that the human endeavour of the construction and organization of the city of Lisbon was to blame for the horrors recounted as they had contributed to the level of suffering, it was, after all, the collapsing buildings, the fires, the close human confinement that led to much of the death.
The question of whether natural disasters such as hurricanes might be natural or moral evil is complicated by new understandings of the effects, such as global warming, of our collective actions on events that were considered to be out of our control. Nonetheless before the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, natural disasters occurred and cannot be ascribed to the actions of humans. However, human actions exacerbate the evil effects of natural disasters; the World Wide Fund for Nature says human activity is a key factor that turns “extreme weather events into greater natural disasters.” For example, “deforestation and floodplain development” by humans turn high rainfall into “devastating floods and mudslides." When humans damage coastal reefs, remove mangroves, destroy dune systems, or clear coastal forests, "extreme coastal events cause much more loss of life and damage.” Damage by tsunamis varied “according to the extent of reef protection and remaining mangrove coverage.” In Europe, human development has “contributed to more frequent and regular floods.”
In earthquakes, people suffer injury or death because of “poorly designed and constructed buildings.”In the United States, wildfires that destroy lives and property aren't "entirely natural.” Some fires are caused by human action and the damage inflicted is sometimes magnified by building “in remote, fire-prone areas.” Dusty conditions in the West that “can cause significant human health problems” have been shown to be “a direct result of human activity and not part of the natural system."In sum, there is evidence that some "natural" evil results from human activity and, contains an element of moral evil. Natural evil is a term used in discussions of the problem of evil and theodicy that refers to states of affairs which, considered in themselves, are those that are part of the natural world, so are independent of the intervention of a human agent. Both natural and moral evil are a challenge to religious believers. Many atheists claim that natural evil is proof that there is no God, at least not an omnipotent, omnibenevolent one, as such a being would not allow such evil to happen to his
Brahman connotes the highest Universal Principle, the Ultimate Reality in the universe. In major schools of Hindu philosophy, it is the material, efficient and final cause of all that exists, it is the pervasive, infinite, eternal truth and bliss which does not change, yet is the cause of all changes. Brahman as a metaphysical concept is the single binding unity behind diversity in all that exists in the universe. Brahman is a Vedic Sanskrit word, it is conceptualized in Hinduism, states Paul Deussen, as the "creative principle which lies realized in the whole world". Brahman is a key concept found in the Vedas, it is extensively discussed in the early Upanishads; the Vedas conceptualize Brahman as the Cosmic Principle. In the Upanishads, it has been variously described as Sat-cit-ānanda and as the unchanging, highest reality. Brahman is discussed in Hindu texts with the concept of Atman, impersonal or Para Brahman, or in various combinations of these qualities depending on the philosophical school.
In dualistic schools of Hinduism such as the theistic Dvaita Vedanta, Brahman is different from Atman in each being. In non-dual schools such as the Advaita Vedanta, Brahman is identical to the Atman, is everywhere and inside each living being, there is connected spiritual oneness in all existence. Sanskrit Brahman from a root bṛh- "to swell, grow, enlarge" is a neuter noun to be distinguished from the masculine brahmán—denoting a person associated with Brahman, from Brahmā, the creator God in the Hindu Trinity, the Trimurti. Brahman is thus a gender-neutral concept that implies greater impersonality than masculine or feminine conceptions of the deity. Brahman is referred to as the supreme self. Puligandla states it as "the unchanging reality amidst and beyond the world", while Sinar states Brahman is a concept that "cannot be defined". In Vedic Sanskrit: Brahma, brahman from root bṛh-, means "to be or make firm, solid, promote". Brahmana, from stems brha + Sanskrit -man- from Indo-European root -men- which denotes some manifest form of "definite power, inherent firmness, supporting or fundamental principle".
In Sanskrit usage: Brahma, brahman means the concept of the transcendent and immanent ultimate reality, Supreme Cosmic Spirit in Hinduism. The concept is central to Hindu philosophy Vedanta. Brahm is another variant of Brahman. Brahmā, means the deity or deva Prajāpati Brahmā, he is one of the members of the Hindu trinity and associated with creation, but does not have a cult in present-day India. This is because Brahmā, the creator-god, is long-lived but not eternal i.e. Brahmā gets absorbed back into Purusha at the end of an aeon, is born again at the beginning of a new kalpa; these are distinct from: A brāhmaṇa, is a prose commentary on the Vedic mantras—an integral part of the Vedic literature. A brāhmaṇa, means priest; this usage is found in the Atharva Veda. In neuter plural form, Brahmāṇi. See Vedic priest. Ishvara, in Advaita, is identified as a partial worldly manifestation of the ultimate reality, the attributeless Brahman. In Visishtadvaita and Dvaita, Ishvara has infinite attributes and the source of the impersonal Brahman.
Devas, the expansions of Brahman/God into various forms, each with a certain quality. In the Vedic religion, there were 33 devas, which became exaggerated to 330 million devas. In fact, devas are themselves regarded as more mundane manifestations of the One and the Supreme Brahman; the Sanskrit word for "ten million" means group, 330 million devas meant 33 types of divine manifestations. Brahman is a concept present in Vedic Samhitas, the oldest layer of the Vedas dated to the 2nd millennium BCE. For example, The concept Brahman is referred to in hundreds of hymns in the Vedas. For example, it is found in Rig veda hymns such as 2.2.10, 6.21.8, 10.72.2 and in Atharva veda hymns such as 6.122.5, 10.1.12, 14.1.131. The concept is found in various layers of the Vedic literature; the concept is extensively discussed in the Upanishads embedded in the Vedas, mentioned in the vedāṅga such as the Srauta sutra 1.12.12 and Paraskara Gryhasutra 3.2.10 through 3.4.5. Jan Gonda states that the diverse reference of Brahman in the Vedic literature, starting with Rigveda Samhitas, convey "different senses or different shades of meaning".
There is no one single word in modern Western languages that can render the various shades of meaning of the word Brahman in the Vedic literature, according to Jan Gonda. In verses considered as the most ancient, the Vedic idea of Brahman is the "power immanent in the sound, words and formulas of Vedas". However, states Gonda, the verses suggest that this ancient meaning was never the only meaning, the concept evolved and expanded in ancient India. Barbara Holdrege states that the concept
Religion is a cultural system of designated behaviors and practices, worldviews, sanctified places, ethics, or organizations, that relates humanity to supernatural, transcendental, or spiritual elements. However, there is no scholarly consensus over what constitutes a religion. Different religions may or may not contain various elements ranging from the divine, sacred things, faith, a supernatural being or supernatural beings or "some sort of ultimacy and transcendence that will provide norms and power for the rest of life". Religious practices may include rituals, commemoration or veneration, festivals, trances, funerary services, matrimonial services, prayer, art, public service, or other aspects of human culture. Religions have sacred histories and narratives, which may be preserved in sacred scriptures, symbols and holy places, that aim to give a meaning to life. Religions may contain symbolic stories, which are sometimes said by followers to be true, that have the side purpose of explaining the origin of life, the universe, other things.
Traditionally, faith, in addition to reason, has been considered a source of religious beliefs. There are an estimated 10,000 distinct religions worldwide, but about 84% of the world's population is affiliated with one of the five largest religion groups, namely Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism or forms of folk religion; the religiously unaffiliated demographic includes those who do not identify with any particular religion and agnostics. While the religiously unaffiliated have grown globally, many of the religiously unaffiliated still have various religious beliefs; the study of religion encompasses a wide variety of academic disciplines, including theology, comparative religion and social scientific studies. Theories of religion offer various explanations for the origins and workings of religion, including the ontological foundations of religious being and belief. Religion is derived from the ultimate origins of which are obscure. One possible interpretation traced to Cicero, connects lego read, i.e. re with lego in the sense of choose, go over again or consider carefully.
The definition of religio by Cicero is cultum deorum, "the proper performance of rites in veneration of the gods." Julius Caesar used religio to mean "obligation of an oath" when discussing captured soldiers making an oath to their captors. The Roman naturalist Pliny the Elder used the term religio on elephants in that they venerate the sun and the moon. Modern scholars such as Tom Harpur and Joseph Campbell favor the derivation from ligare bind, connect from a prefixed re-ligare, i.e. re + ligare or to reconnect, made prominent by St. Augustine, following the interpretation given by Lactantius in Divinae institutiones, IV, 28; the medieval usage alternates with order in designating bonded communities like those of monastic orders: "we hear of the'religion' of the Golden Fleece, of a knight'of the religion of Avys'". In the ancient and medieval world, the etymological Latin root religio was understood as an individual virtue of worship in mundane contexts. In general, religio referred to broad social obligations towards anything including family, neighbors and towards God.
Religio was most used by the ancient Romans not in the context of a relation towards gods, but as a range of general emotions such as hesitation, anxiety, fear. The term was closely related to other terms like scrupulus which meant "very precisely" and some Roman authors related the term superstitio, which meant too much fear or anxiety or shame, to religio at times; when religio came into English around the 1200s as religion, it took the meaning of "life bound by monastic vows" or monastic orders. The compartmentalized concept of religion, where religious things were separated from worldly things, was not used before the 1500s; the concept of religion was first used in the 1500s to distinguish the domain of the church and the domain of civil authorities. In the ancient Greece, the Greek term threskeia was loosely translated into Latin as religio in late antiquity; the term was sparsely used in classical Greece but became more used in the writings of Josephus in the first century CE. It was used in mundane contexts and could mean multiple things from respectful fear to excessive or harmfully distracting practices of others.
It was contrasted with the Greek word deisidaimonia which meant too much fear. The modern concept of religion, as an abstraction that entails distinct sets of beliefs or doctrines, is a recent invention in the English language; such usage began with texts from the 17th century due to events such the splitting of Christendom during the Protestant Reformation and globalization in the age of exploration, which involved contact with numerous foreign cultures with non-European languages. Some argue that regardless of its definition, it is not appropriate to apply the term religion to non-Western cultures. Others argue that using religion on non-western cultures distorts what people believe; the concept of religion was formed in the 16th and 17th centuries, despite the fact that ancient sacred texts like the Bible, the Quran, others did not have a word or a concept of religion in the original languages and neither did the peopl
Aristotelian theology and the scholastic view of God have been influential in Western intellectual history. In his first philosophy called the Metaphysics, Aristotle discusses the meaning of being as being, he refers to the unmoved movers, assigns one to each movement in the heavens and tasks future astronomers with correlating the estimated 47 to 55 motions of the Eudoxan planetary model with the most current and accurate observations. According to Aristotle, each unmoved mover continuously contemplates its own contemplation, thus captivated, their tireless performance is the result of their own desire. This is one way, they must have no sensory perception whatsoever on account of Aristotle's theory of cognition: were any form of sense perception to intrude upon their thoughts, in that instant they would cease to be themselves, because actual self-reflection is their singular essence, their whole being. Like the heavenly bodies in their unadorned pursuit, so the wise look, with affection, toward the star.
In the Metaphysics, Aristotle discusses potentiality. The former is perfection, fullness of being; the former is the latter the determinable principle. The unmoved movers are actual, Actus Purus, because they are unchanging, immaterial substance. All material beings have some potentiality; the Physics introduces matter and form and the four causes—material, formal and final. For example, to explain a statue, one can offer: The material cause, that out of which the statue is made, is the marble or bronze; the formal cause, that according to which the statue is made, is the shape that the sculptor has learned to sculpt. The efficient cause, or agent, is the sculptor; the final cause, is that for the statue. Contrary to the so-called "traditional" view of prime matter, Aristotle asserts that there can be no pure potentiality without any actuality whatsoever. All material substances have unactualized potentials. Aristotle argues that, although motion is eternal, there cannot be an infinite series of movers and of things moved.
Therefore, there must be some, who are not the first in such a series, that inspire the eternal motion without themselves being moved "as the soul is moved by beauty". Because the planetary spheres each move unfalteringly for all eternity in uniform circular motion with a given rotational period relative to the supreme diurnal motion of the sphere of fixed stars, they must each love and desire to mimic different unmoved movers corresponding to the given periods; because they eternally inspire uniform motion in the celestial spheres, the unmoved movers must themselves be eternal and unchanging. Because they are eternal, they have had an infinite amount of time in which to actualize any potentialities and therefore cannot be a composition of matter and form, or potentiality and actuality, they must always be actual, thus immaterial, because at all times in history they have existed an infinite amount of time, things that do not come to fruition given unlimited opportunities to do so cannot do so.
The life of the unmoved mover is self-contemplative thought. According to Aristotle, the gods cannot be distracted from this eternal self-contemplation because, in that instant, they would cease to exist. John Burnet noted The Neoplatonists were quite justified in regarding themselves as the spiritual heirs of Pythagoras, and this tendency was at work all along. Aristotle might seem to be an exception. In days, Apollonios of Tyana showed in practice what this sort of thing must lead to; the theurgy and thaumaturgy of the late Greek schools were only the fruit of the seed sown by the generation which preceded the Persian War. Aristotle's principles of being influenced Anselm's view of God, whom he called "that than which nothing greater can be conceived." Anselm thought that God did not feel emotions such as anger or love, but appeared to do so through our imperfect understanding. The incongruity of judging "being" against something that might not exist, may have led Anselm to his famous ontological argument for God's existence.
Many medieval philosophers made use of the idea of approaching a knowledge of God through negative attributes. For example, we should not say that God exists in the usual sense of the term, all we can safely say is that God is not nonexistent. We should not say that God is wise. We should not say that God is One, but we can stat
Apophatic theology known as negative theology, is a form of theological thinking and religious practice which attempts to approach God, the Divine, by negation, to speak only in terms of what may not be said about the perfect goodness, God. It forms a pair together with cataphatic theology, which approaches God or the Divine by affirmations or positive statements about what God is; the apophatic tradition is though not always, allied with the approach of mysticism, which aims at the vision of God, the perception of the divine reality beyond the realm of ordinary perception. "Apophatic", Ancient Greek: ἀπόφασις. From Online Etymology Dictionary: apophatic "involving a mention of something one feigns to deny. Via negativa or via negationis, "negative way" or "by way of denial"; the negative way forms a pair together with the positive way. According to Deirdre Carabine, Dionysius describes the kataphatic or affirmative way to the divine as the "way of speech": that we can come to some understanding of the Transcendent by attributing all the perfections of the created order to God as its source.
In this sense, we can say "God is Love", "God is Beauty", "God is Good". The apophatic or negative way stresses God's absolute transcendence and unknowability in such a way that we cannot say anything about the divine essence because God is so beyond being; the dual concept of the immanence and transcendence of God can help us to understand the simultaneous truth of both "ways" to God: at the same time as God is immanent, God is transcendent. At the same time as God is knowable, God is unknowable. God can not be thought of the other only. According to Fagenblat, "negative theology is as old as philosophy itself. A tendency to apophatic thought can be found in Philo of Alexandria. According to Carabine, "apophasis proper" in Greek thought starts with Neo-Platonism, with its speculations about the nature of the One, culminating in the works of Proclus. According to Carabine, there are two major points in the development of apophatic theology, namely the fusion of the Jewish tradition with Platonic philosophy in the writings of Philo, the works of Dionysius the Pseudo-Areopagite, who infused Christian thought with Neo-Platonic ideas.
The Early Church Fathers were influenced by Philo, Meredith states that Philo "is the real founder of the apophatic tradition." Yet, it was with Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite and Maximus the Confessor, whose writings shaped both Hesychasm, the contemplative tradition of the Eastern Orthodox Churches, the mystical traditions of western Europe, that apophatic theology became a central element of Christian theology and contemplative practice. For the ancient Greeks, knowledge of the gods was essential for proper worship. Poets had an important responsibility in this regard, a central question was how knowledge of the Divine forms can be attained. Epiphany played an essential role in attaining this knowledge. Xenophanes noted that the knowledge of the Divine forms is restrained by the human imagination, Greek philosophers realized that this knowledge can only be mediated through myth and visual representations, which are culture-dependent. According to Herodotus and Hesiod taught the Greek the knowledge of the Divine bodies of the Gods.
The ancient Greek poet Hesiod describes in his Theogony the birth of the gods and creation of the world, which became an "ur-text for programmatic, first-person epiphanic narratives in Greek literature," but "explores the necessary limitations placed on human access to the divine." According to Platt, the statement of the Muses who grant Hesiod knowledge of the Gods "actually accords better with the logic of apophatic religious thought."Parmenides, in his poem On Nature, gives an account of a revelation on two ways of inquiry. "The way of conviction" explores Being, true reality, "What is ungenerated and deathless,/whole and uniform, still and perfect." "The way of opinion" is the world of appearances, in which one's sensory faculties lead to conceptions which are false and deceitful. His distinction between unchanging Truth and shifting opinion is reflected in Plato's allegory of the Cave. Together with the Biblical story of Moses's ascent of Mount Sinai, it is used by Gregory of Nyssa and Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite to give a Christian account of the ascent of the soul toward God.
Cook notes that Parmenides poem is a religious account of a mystical journey, akin to the mystery cults, giving a philosophical form to a religious outlook. Cook further notes that the philosopher's task is to "attempt through'negative' thinking to tear themselves loose from all that frustrates their pursuit of wisdom." Plato, "deciding for Parmenides against Heraclitus" and his theory of eternal change, had a strong influence on the development of apophatic thought. Plato further explored Parmenides's idea of timeless truth in his dialogue Parmenides, a treatment of the eternal forms, Truth and Goodness, which are the real aims for knowledge; the Theory of Forms is Plato's answer to the problem "how one unchanging reality or essential being can admit of many changing phen
"Medicus" redirects here. For the novel by Ruth Downie, see Ruso and the Disappearing Dancing Girls; the Physician is a novel by Noah Gordon. It is about the life of a Christian English boy in the 11th century who journeys across Europe in order to study medicine among the Persians; the book was published by Simon & Schuster on August 7, 1986. The book did not sell well in America, but in Europe it was many times a bestseller in Spain and Germany, selling millions of copies in translation, its European success caused its subsequent sequelization. The film rights to the book were purchased, it is the year 1020. Rob Cole is the eldest of many children, his father is a Joiner in the Guild of Carpenters in London. His mother, Agnes Cole, is his father's wife. Robert has a particular Gift: he can sense when someone is going to die; when his mother and father both die, the Cole household is parceled out to various neighbors and friends. The Cole children are parceled out likewise. Rob is taken by the only one who wants him: a traveling barber-surgeon who goes only by the name of Barber.
He is a fleshy man with fleshy appetites and a great zest for life. Over the next years, he takes Rob as his apprentice, he teaches the boy how to juggle, to draw caricatures, to tell stories, to entertain a crowd, to sell the nostrum on which they make their living. He teaches the boy all he knows of medicine—which is little; when Barber dies, Rob takes over his traveling medicine show. But he is restless, desiring to know more about the ways of medicine, he meets a Jewish physician in Malmesbury who tells him of schools in Córdoba, Toledo in far-away Persia, where the medical and scientific learning of the Muslims is taught. Besides being worlds away, the schools do not admit Christians—and if they did, no country in Christendom would allow a person with such heathen learning to return. In a moment of epiphany, Rob decides that he shall take on the guise of a Jewish student, so that he can travel to Persia and study at the feet of Avicenna; this decision carries its own risks: while Jews were allowed more freedom in the Muslim world than they were in Christian Europe, Rob would still have to cross Europe, where Jews were faced with blood libels, forced conversions and killings.
Rob travels, from London throughout Europe to Constantinople. Here he becomes Jewish in appearance, travels eastwards with a group of Jewish merchants, learning their ways as best he can, he meets a young woman called Mary Margaret Cullen, traveling with her father, in search of superior Turkish sheep. The pair falls in love and become occasional lovers, but as Mary, by her father, proposes marriage to Rob, he dismisses her, saying that he needed to study medicine and telling her all his plans; the Cullens leave Rob continues his journey. Rob arrives in the city of Isfahan, in the heart of the Abbasid Caliphate, tries to enter into the school of physicians there, he is not allowed access. He struggles to survive in the city, while searching for a way to enter the school. A chance encounter with the Shah of Persia opens for Rob the door to the school of physicians. Here he begins the study of medicine—the first formal study he has had in his life. At the same time he immerses himself in the life of a Persian Jew.
Comparable to a surgical residency or similar term of practicum, Rob goes to a war-torn land to practice his medical knowledge. His journeys with the Shah's armies take him as far as India, where he encounters elephants and Wootz steel, he makes friends among the Muslim students of the school. Upon his return he encounters Mary; as she has nowhere to go, once they seem to love each other, although she is Christian, they form a liaison, are secretly wed. Mary doesn't deal well with the new city. Regardless of all, Mary gets pregnant and has the child while Rob is in India, acting as a doctor and for the first time touching a corpse's heart, he helps to instruct new physicians in the school. Rob and Mary's son is named Robert James Cole. She, at one point, is visited by Ibn Sina, who tells her that the Shah requested her presence, otherwise he'd kill Rob. Mary understood that it meant that the Shah intended to have sex with her, goes to him. After having sex with Shah, she gets pregnant; when the child, named Thomas Scott, is born, the Shah sends him a rug, Rob realizes that Thomas is not his son.
Mary, tells him that she kept them both alive, leaves his bedroom. However, when Mary beats him for thinking that he had been with prostitutes, the two are able to tell the truth and reconcile themselves. Soon afterwards, Avicenna dies, Isfahan is conquered by a rival king. Rob, his wife and children pillage and make their laborious way back to England. Rob struggles to locate his lost brothers and sisters to make his place amongst the ignorant physicians of London. Despairing, he returns with his wife and family to Scotland, where he acts as physician to his wife's people high in the hills. 1999, Madrid Book Fair attendees called The Physician, "one of the ten most beloved books of all time". While Gordon's novel was not a huge hit in the U. S. it topped best-seller lists across continental Europe and a motion picture was in development in Europe for UFA Cinema and Universal Pictures. The German film director Philipp Stölzl was positioned to direct the historic epic, which has secured €3.3 million in regional and federal German funding.
The production was scheduled for summer 2012 on location in Quedlinburg, Moro
The Physician (2013 film)
The Physician is a 2013 German historical drama film based on the novel of the same name by Noah Gordon. The film, co-written and directed by Philipp Stölzl, focuses on an orphan from an 11th-century English town whose mother died of a mysterious illness; the boy decides to travel to Persia. The film stars Tom Payne, Ben Kingsley, Stellan Skarsgård, Olivier Martinez, Emma Rigby lead roles, it is the Dark Ages, the Church is fighting against'black magic'. The medical knowledge of Greek physicians like Hippocrates and Galen had been lost to the medicine of medieval Europe. In 11th-century England, travelling barber surgeons attempted to supply medical care to the ordinary population at the risk of the Church persecuting them for witchcraft. Robert Cole has an extraordinary gift, where he can sense when someone left untreated has a terminal illness, he notices this for the first time when he feels it as a little boy when his sick mother is dying of appendicitis, a disease of which he was unaware.
The young orphan joins an itinerant barber-surgeon. Barber teaches him the basics of medieval medicine, with services such as cupping therapy and dental extraction; as an apprentice Rob recognizes the limitations of these simple practices. When Barber suffers from a cataract, Rob consults a Medicus for him; this Jewish doctor heals Barber of his cataracts. He learns a little bit of Jewish culture, he speaks with two children and Benjamin. There, Rob sees for the first time a world map, learns of the famous Ibn Sina, who teaches medicine in distant Persia. So he decides to train there to become a physician. During the Islamic Golden Age, the medicine in the medieval Islamic world is far more advanced than in Europe; the doctor and philosopher Ibn Sina teaches in Isfahan, the most important school for aspiring practitioners in the world at that time. Rob is told. Upon arriving in Egypt, Rob therefore circumcises himself and calls himself Jesse ben Benjamin, pretending to be a Jew. In a caravan he comes to know Rebecca who reads to him from a book about Aladdin and Sinbad the Sailor.
The caravan experience a desert storm, so Rob dies. When, after arriving to Isfahan, he asks for admission to the hospital and school of Ibn Sina, he is thrown out and beaten by guards. Lying in the street with a cut and a concussion he is found by the Guardian, so he is taken in as a patient. In a bimaristan and madrasa, he is treated by Ibn Sina and admitted as a student to learn the basics of scientific medicine as well as other sciences and philosophy. Rob learns to perform a medical history and medical examination including pulse diagnosis, the leech treatment, the use of opium, including the analgesic effect, surgical procedures. After the Shah refuses a peace treaty with the Seljuks, the Seljuks send a man infected with the Black Death to infect the city. Thousands begin to die after being cared for by his students. Only by Rob's discovery and rapid application of basic hygienic principles, the plague is overcome. Rob suggests that oriental rat fleas may be the carriers of the Black Death, with rat poison the pest may be suppressed.
Rob is reunited with Rebecca, who has come down with the plague, is able to bond with her since her husband temporarily abandons the city, leaving her to become sick. Rob nurses her back to health, Rebecca makes a full recovery, she and Rob become romantically involved and engage in extramarital sex right before Rebecca must return to her husband, who has returned to the city. Rebecca is impregnated as a result, her husband discovers this, which leads to her being sentenced to death by stoning; the Christian and Islamic religions influence the evaluation of medical science, a conflict is sparked by the ethical assessment of the autopsy on the human body. As a Zoroastrian dies of appendicitis, Rob learns from him that Zoroastrianism does not prohibit an adherent from undergoing autopsy after death. Rob secretly performs an autopsy on his body to deepen his knowledge of anatomy and to discover the inflamed vermiform appendix; when the mullahs discover what he has done, both Rob and Ibn Sina are being sentenced to death for necromancy.
Rebecca is about to be stoned for adultery, when the Shah is stricken with appendicitis. Rob and Ibn Sina are freed. Before beginning the surgery, Rob arranges for Rebecca to be rescued from her impending execution. Isfahan is betrayed by the mullahs to the Seljuks, since they want to drive the Jewish community and Ibn Sina's madrasa out of the city. Mullah soldiers arrive to attack the hospital. Ibn Sina heads to the burning library and transfers his medical writings to Rob Cole, awards him the medical title'Hakim.' Ibn Sina stays to die in the burning library. Rob Cole, as well as others, escape through a gate the Shah has told them about while he and his men go to make a last stand against the Seljuks. Rob establishes a hospital; the old Barber, Cole's first teacher, learns from a little boy about his former pupil's return and fame. The Barber asks the boy to take him to see his old pupil as the film ends. Tom Payne – Rob Cole/Jesse Ben Benjamin Emma Rigby – Rebecca Stellan Skarsgård – Barber Ben Kingsley – Ibn Sina Olivier Martinez – Shah Ala ad-Daula Michael Marcus - Mirdin Elyas M'Barek – Karim Fahri Yardım – Davout Hossein Makram Khoury - Imam Stanley Townsend – Bar Kappara Adam Thomas-Wright - Young Rob