Historical Origins And Development Of Anointing The Sick With Oil

Source: The Complete Library of Christian Worship, Robert E. Webber, General Editor

Anointing with oil is one of the oldest human rituals. It is frequently mentioned in Scripture and played an important role in the life of the early church. This article traces the history of this sacred action, concentrating on the ancient and medieval periods.

Ancient peoples used olive oil in several ways. Shepherds poured it on the scratched and wounded heads of sheep entering the fold at eventide (Ps. 23:5). Kings, prophets, and priests were anointed as a consecration to their sacred...


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