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Death, Medicine, and Religious Solidarity in Martin Scorsese's Bringing Out the Dead

Death, Medicine, and Religious Solidarity in Martin Scorsese's Bringing Out the Dead David M. Hammond and Beverly J. Smith In this paper, we will discuss the portrait of medicine in Martin Scorsese's 1999 film, Bringing Out the Dead. Medicine is frequently represented in films as a metaphor for religion, developing a relationship anthropologists have explored for over a century. In a culture of technology and secularization, it might seem this relationship would have necessarily faded. However, despite today's unprecedented attempts to frustrate death,1 medicine still must surrender to human mortality. Informed by a religious critique, Bringing Out the Dead suggests that medicine, ideally, is "less about saving lives than about bearing witness," as Frank Pierce, the central character in the movie, puts it. To put this suggestion into context, we will describe the relationship between religion and medicine evident in the movie as seen from anthropological and theological perspectives. The essential claim of Scorsese's film is that redemption is available only by bearing witness to a common human solidarity. Thus, the contemporary practice of medicine, when it is disengaged from questions of human meaning, is represented as in need of a religious critique. As we will demonstrate, insights from anthropology (usulogos 7:3 summer 2004 logos ally applied to other cultures) http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Logos: A Journal of Catholic Thought and Culture Logos: Journal of Catholic Thought & Culture

Death, Medicine, and Religious Solidarity in Martin Scorsese's Bringing Out the Dead

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Publisher
Logos: Journal of Catholic Thought & Culture
Copyright
Copyright © 2004 The University of St. Thomas.
ISSN
1533-791X
Publisher site
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Abstract

David M. Hammond and Beverly J. Smith In this paper, we will discuss the portrait of medicine in Martin Scorsese's 1999 film, Bringing Out the Dead. Medicine is frequently represented in films as a metaphor for religion, developing a relationship anthropologists have explored for over a century. In a culture of technology and secularization, it might seem this relationship would have necessarily faded. However, despite today's unprecedented attempts to frustrate death,1 medicine still must surrender to human mortality. Informed by a religious critique, Bringing Out the Dead suggests that medicine, ideally, is "less about saving lives than about bearing witness," as Frank Pierce, the central character in the movie, puts it. To put this suggestion into context, we will describe the relationship between religion and medicine evident in the movie as seen from anthropological and theological perspectives. The essential claim of Scorsese's film is that redemption is available only by bearing witness to a common human solidarity. Thus, the contemporary practice of medicine, when it is disengaged from questions of human meaning, is represented as in need of a religious critique. As we will demonstrate, insights from anthropology (usulogos 7:3 summer 2004 logos ally applied to other cultures)

Journal

Logos: A Journal of Catholic Thought and CultureLogos: Journal of Catholic Thought & Culture

Published: Jul 2, 2004

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