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Medical prognoses versus religious divination topic of Lee Library lecture April 7

L. Tom Perry Special Collections in Brigham Young University's Harold B. Lee Library presents its latest Omnibus lecture Thursday, April 7, at 3 p.m. in the DeLamar Jensen Lecture Room, 1130 HBLL.

BYU history professor Glen Cooper will speak on "Reason and Revelation in Islam: Was Medical Prognosis Considered a Kind of Prophecy?" as part of the series' purpose of presenting findings on research performed in Special Collections.

Cooper maintains that the earliest physicians had to contend with establishing a distinction between medical prognoses and religious divination as far back as A.D. 100. Contrary to those in ancient Greece, the Islamic world viewed the practice with great ambivalence since many believed God performed the healing and only he or his prophet could know the future.

He will discuss the status of medical prognosis in the Islamic world through his studies of various Islamic authors on the subjects of reason, medicine and theology. "I shall demonstrate that prognosis was accepted for its great utility, in spite of its resemblance to divination, most forms of which were anathema in Islam," says Cooper.

Derek Jensen, curator of European books in Special Collections and coordinator of the series, explains that students and faculty who do research in Special Collections might be curious to know what their fellow researchers are finding at the same time. The Omnibus series gives them the opportunity to find out and challenges scholars to continue refining their arguments, says Jensen.

All are welcome to attend. For more information, contact Special Collections at (801) 422-3514 or visit their Web site at

Writer: Mike Hooper

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