A Doctor at Calvary (Barbet)

Angelico Press

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About the Book

What kind and what degree of physical torture did Our Lord suffer during His agony? What was the medical cause of His death? These are the questions the author, an eminent French surgeon, answers in this work, one of the most significant contributions to Christological science in modern times. As he says in his Introduction: “Theologians can imagine and describe the moral sufferings which formed part of the Savior’s Passion…. But when the same theologians wish to describe the physical sufferings of Jesus, one is struck with the difficulty which they find in helping us to take part in them…. The truth is that they scarcely understand them.”

It was to document and substantiate with the findings of medical science the theological statement, “Jesus suffered,” that Dr. Barbet began the arduous task of investigating the effects on His body of all the injuries our Lord suffered at the hands of men, from the Agony in the Garden to the consummation at Calvary. His conclusions caused even Pope Pius to go pale with grief and to complain, “We did not know; nobody has ever told us that!” From his examination of the Holy Shroud of Turin (the authenticity of which he accepts from medical evidence) Dr. Barbet does indeed present a remarkable reconstruction of Christ’s terrible agony in language that cannot fail to move the heart.

This is a source book for theologians and all who preach or write on the Passion of Our Lord: physicians will find it of intriguing interest and scientific accuracy; and for the layman who desires to penetrate more deeply into Christ’s agony it makes His sacrifice more real and present. This is sound science joining forces with sound theology to create a new dimension in the literature of the Redemption.


About the Author

Surgeon, classicist, linguist, archaeologist, liturgist, and all-round scholar, Pierre Barbet applied a full, rich lifetime of thought, experience, and study to the problem of Christ’s sufferings and death. Born in 1883, Dr. Barbet took his medical training in Paris. He served as surgeon in several hospitals while also giving instruction in anatomy. He served four years as surgeon in the French army during World War I. Deeply interested in the literature of other countries, he was especially competent in Greek and Latin, which proved highly useful in his study of Christ’s sufferings, and he published translations of Dante, Michelangelo, and Jacopone da Todi from Italian. He had an absorbing interest in Christian archaeology and amassed a large library on the history of art.


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