Resuscitation in The Bible

The Bible is occasionally cited as the source of written descriptions of the earliest instances of resuscitation. A number of accounts of recovery from death are found in the Bible. Two Old Testament episodes that appear to describe resuscitation are related in the books of Kings, and involve the Hebrew prophets Elijah and Elisha. The story of Elisha, Elijah’s successor as Prophet of Israel, is the one most frequently cited in medical articles as representing the earliest documented case of mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. The opinions of biblical and medical scholars differ on this point. Another episode that may represent resuscitation is told in the New Testament, and regards an action by the Apostle Paul. Within a century of this episode, the investigations of Galen marked the dawning of a new era in medical inquiry that was ultimately to lay the scientific foundations of resuscitation. However, episodes from the Bible had already served to display the possibility that resuscitation could be achieved.