The thesis com pares the healing miracles of Jesus with the healing practices of traditional and Christian Samoa. Jesus' healings can be appreciated more within a healing environment like that of the gospels. The Samoan healing perspectives present an interesting and challenging framework in which one may recapture the significance the healing miracles served for the evangelists and also for those whom Jesus healed. Jesus' healing emphasized the holistic cure of the sick person rather than simply the physical remedy of the body. The comparison of Samoan and Jesus' healing motifs helps re-enforce the reality of holistic healing, which includes not only physical cure but other significant healing dimensions as well
Chapter one deals with Samoa, highlighting the traditional and Christian world-views within which healing may be understood. Peoples' concept of health and sickness is associated with their view of the world. The social and religious realities influence people's concepts of causality and remedy of illness. Within the framework of these world-views, Samoan healing is understood.
Chapter two is a comparison of the world-view of first century Judaism with the Samoan, in relation to evil spirits and demons and the Samoan spirits and deities. Even though both spirit-worlds were influential in the causality of illness and possessions, the nature of the spirits is not always the same. The Jewish view of spirits is dualistic whereas the traditional Samoan spirit-world tends to be complementary. Despite these differences, there is a common ground by which one may understand both systems.
Chapter three com pares exorcism s in the gospels with aitu [spirit] possessions in Samoa. Both reveal similarities not only in the nature of the phenomenon, but also its significance. The difference in the nature of the spirits presents a significant contrast. Many of the Samoan spirits w ere seen as respected family and ancestral spirits and therefore aitu possession indicates different functions from those of the gospels. The impact of Christianity upon traditional culture however, relegates traditional spirits to the realm of evil spirits and demons.
Chapter four presents a comparison of the sin-sickness motif implicit in Jesus' healing, with sickness caused by the breaking of traditional and religious taboos in Samoa. The relationship of morality to sickness implied in some of Jesus' healing miracles was characteristic of the wider framework within which health was understood in the first century A D. Such perspective on illness is also true of the Samoan understanding of the causality and remedy of illness. Religious and social obligations to the supernatural world, to the family and com m unity and also to God, are integral aspects of maintaining health and well-being in Samoa.
Chapter five com pares the holistic nature of Jesus' healing with the concept of health, healing and wholeness in Samoa. Jesus approached healing holistically rather than simply the remedy of the physical symptoms. His healing miracles should not be equated with medical healing, but may be seen as an attempt to understand sickness within the whole context of the human person, who has social, religious and spiritual relationships, in the family, the community and to God. Samoan healing perspectives highlight social, religious and moral dimensions of healing. When the remedy is set within the patient's social, religious and moral framework, holistic healing and genuine well-being may be successfully achieved.