The Nexus Between Leprosy In Leviticus 13 - 14 And Ebola Virus Disease In Nigeria

Ogedegbe, Bosede Gladys (2018-06-01)

PhD thesis


Often times, contemporary issues provide us a new perspective on Biblical happenings, giving us better insights into the realities of that time. The foremost basis for this study is the misconception of certain school of thoughts that the book of Leviticus also known as the Book of the Law provides the foundation for certain discriminatory practices in the Biblical era. Several scholars in the past have often viewed the laws of Leviticus as discriminatory since it introduces the ‘isolation system’ for certain group of individuals (the infected). The overall objective of this study therefore is to reread/reinterpret the Hebrew text of Leviticus 13 - 14 in the light of contemporary Ebola disease in Nigeria. To achieve this objective, the study focuses on the forms of Biblical leprosy stated in Leviticus 13 - 14. In gathering the data for this work, we relied heavily on secondary sources, given the fact that our study of leprosy was limited to Biblical records while in the case of Ebola, primary respondents are not accessible to the general public. Method of data analysis of leprosy in the Old Testament takes both a historical and exegetical approach. The theoretical framework adopted for this work is the comparative model which is concerned with the systematic comparison of the doctrines and practices of the world's religions. From this study, we have been able to establish a nexus between the guidelines instituted by God on leprosy and the steps adopted by the Nigerian government in tackling the spread of Ebola. This has helped to highlight that God in His infinite wisdom (even in the Old Testament) laid down basic principles for tackling an epidemic such as leprosy which are in line with today’s WHO best practices adopted by the Nigerian government in handling Ebola. Our findings show that the essence of creating the ‘isolation/quarantine’ system by God (in the Old Testament) and the Nigerian government is not to foster discrimination but to ensure that outbreaks of such epidemics like leprosy and Ebola were stemmed. From this work, we see that attitudinal problems of fear and ignorance are key issues that foster stigmatisation which advertently encourages the spread of diseases. This study develops a Biblical basis for fighting against Ebola stigma by highlighting the fact that in times of epidemics, individuals, institutions and nations are to provide support, aid and care for infected/affected persons or nations rather than abandoning them. This will encourage infected persons to observe the necessary regulations in ensuring that they do not spread the disease. This study has shown that the scripture provides age long insights and practices which are very relevant in addressing contemporary issues as such, it recommends that some very vital lessons which have significant importance should be adopted from it for the resolution of problems in the modern world.