Photo by the British Museum

ON THE COVER: The Aramean general Naaman bathes in the brilliant, blue-green Jordan River as healing rays, labeled “curatio namam” on this 12th-century gilded, enamel plaque, cure him of leprosy. On the riverbank stand the prophet Elisha’s servants, or famuli, who encourage the general to follow their master’s instructions: “Go and bathe seven times in the Jordan, and your flesh shall be restored” (2 Kings 5:10). Seeking a cure from a prophet was just one of many options—ranging from simple prayers to sophisticated surgical techniques—available to the ill in ancient Israel, writes Hector Avalos, who explores the complexity of “Ancient Medicine.”