An Overview of Religious Medicine in the Near East: Mission Hospitals of the American Board in Asia Minor (1880-1923)

Idris Yucel


Mission hospitals founded by American Board missionaries in the late Ottoman period set an unusual example within the broader framework of Ottoman provincial healthcare services. These hospitals provided free health services to many poor and needy patients irrespective of their ethnic and religious origins: most importantly, they had access to Muslims, unlike typical Catholic and Protestant missionary institutions which were only able to operate among the non-Muslim population of the empire. By these means, mission hospitals managed to gain the sympathy of both the local population and Ottoman local officials. This study will focus on the historiography of mission hospitals and the fundamental debates surrounding these institutions under the rubric of two main headings. First, the study will set out a short historiography of mission hospitals, their typical modus operandi and the audiences they reached out to in technical terms. Then, from a theoretical perspective, the study will shed light on the underlying motivations of these mission hospitals along with Ottoman governmental attitudes toward these institutions.


ABCFM, Protestant, missionary, medical missions, Turkey, Ottoman Empire, hospital.

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