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The Anatomical Perspective: Epistemology and Ethics in a Colonial Missionary Clinic

  • Kevin E. Ko (a1)
Abstract

For Dutch Calvinist missionaries in Central Java, two events bookended the radically transformative decade of the 1890s. The first, at the start of the decade, was the severing of relations with a charismatic Javanese leader named Sadrach, a decision that marked a redoubled commitment to suppress local Christian syncretism and to promote Calvinist orthodoxy in its stead. The second, at the decade's end, was the establishment of a modern clinic to serve as the flagship institution of a reformulated and reinvigorated missionary project. This article considers how these two seemingly disparate events are related. It suggests that much of what was troubling to missionaries about Sadrach and his indigenous Christian movement involved their understandings and uses of the body. I then consider how the mission attempted to use modern clinical experience and the anatomical perspective to address a range of ethical and epistemological problems posed by Sadrach and his followers' understandings of the body. The modern clinic would serve as a key pedagogical and disciplinary tool for the reordering of a vocabulary and syntax of bodies and souls, a grammar of religious and social expression.

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kevin.ko@yale.edu
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1 For more accounts of Sadrach and the missionary controversy surrounding him, see L. Adriaanse, Sadrach's Kring (Leiden: D. Donner, 1899); Sutarman Soediman Partonadi, Sadrach's Community and Its Contextual Roots: A Nineteenth-Century Javanese Expression of Christianity (Amsterdam: Rodopi, 1990); and Claude Guillot, L'affaire Sadrach: un essai de christianisation à Java au XIXe siécle (Paris: Maison des sciences de l'homme, 1981).

2 De Nederduitsche Gereformeerde Kerken, or NGK, which was soon to be renamed De Gereformeerde Kerken in Nederland (The Reformed Churches in the Netherlands), or GKN.

3 F. Lion Cachet, “Dwaalleeraar in Bagelen,” in H. Reenders, ed., De Gereformeerde Zending in Midden-Java: Een Bronnenpublicatie, 1859–1931 (Zoetermeer: Uitgeverij Boekencentrum, 2001), 228.

4 Ibid., 229.

5 Webb Keane, Christian Moderns: Freedom and Fetish in the Mission Encounter (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2007).

6 In describing the emergence of a new ontology of body and soul as a process of enactment, I am drawing inspiration from Annamarie Mol's The Body Multiple: Ontology in Medical Practice (Durham: Duke University Press, 2002), as well as recent literature on the role of bodily practice and performance in the making of religious, ethical, and scientific subjectivities. For religious and ethical subjectivities, see Talal Asad, Genealogies of Religion: Discipline and Reasons of Power in Christianity and Islam (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1993); Saba Mahmood, Politics of Piety: The Islamic Revival and the Feminist Subject (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2005); and Charles Hirschkind, The Ethical Soundscape: Cassette Sermons and Islamic Counterpublics (New York: Columbia University Press, 2006). For scientific subjectivities, see Lorraine J. Daston and Peter Louis Galison, Objectivity (New York: Zone Books, 2007).

7 Mauss, Marcel, “Body Techniques,” Economy and Society 2 (1973 [1933]): 7088.

8 Keane, Christian Moderns, 67. See also Asad, Geneologies, ch. 1.

9 Lion Cachet, Een Jaar op Reis in Dienst der Zending (Amsterdam: J. A. Worsmer, 1896), 367 (my emphasis).

10 Adriaanse, Sadrach's Kring, 69–70.

11 D. Pol, Midden Java ten Zuiden, 2d ed. (Hoenderloo: Zendingsstudie-raad, 1939), 88.

12 Schuurmans, N. A., “Javaansche Middelen tegen de Cholera,” De Macedoniër 9 (1891): 2233.

13 R., Iets over Javaansch Bijgeloof,” De Macedoniër 8 (1890): 6873.

14 Bakker, D., “Het Schuldbesef van den Javaan,” De Macedoniër 15 (1911): 242–43.

15 Bakker, D., “Java: Animisme,” De Macedoniër 12 (1908): 289–98, 290 (my emphasis).

16 Ibid., 296.

17 A. C. Kruijt, Animisme in den Indischen Archipel ('s-Gravenhage: M. Nijhoff, 1906), 2. Kruijt posited a four-stage evolutionary framework involving four distinct types of religion: pre-animism, animism, spiritism, and Christianity. In missionary accounts of Java, however, animism often came to function as a general term that encompassed both the animism and spiritism of Kruijt's original framework. Kruijt himself suggested that animism and spiritism blended together in real life (4–5). For more on Kruijt's theory of animism, see Albert Schrauwers, Colonial ‘Reformation’ in the Highlands of Central Sulawesi, Indonesia, 1892–1995 (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2000), 54–58; and Keane, Christian Moderns, 96–99.

18 Kruijt, Animisme, 2.

19 Ibid., 1–2. See also Kreemer, J. Jr., “Volksheelkunde in den Indischen-Archipel,” Bijdragen tot de Taal-, Land-, en Volkenkunde van Nederlandsch-Indië 70 (1915): 1112.

20 Adriaanse, Sadrach's Kring, 408. See also Kreemer, J., “Hoe de Javaan zijne zieken verzorgt,” Mededeelingen vanwege het Nederlandsche Zendelinggenootschap (1892): 109–27, 120; and Kreemer, J., “Behandeling van zieken in het Malangsche, uit het verslag over 1891,” Mededeelingen vanwege het Nederlandsche Zendelinggenootschap (1893): 6880, 75.

21 F. Lion Cachet, “Dwaalleeraar in Bagelen,” 228; and Adriaanse, Sadrach's Kring, 406.

22 Schuurmans, “Javaansche,” 33–40.

23 Bakker, “Java: Animisme,” 292.

24 Kruijt, Animisme, 2.

25 Pruijs, H. S., “De studie van de Missionairen Arts over Volksgeloof en Tropischeziekte,” De Macedoniër 15 (1911): 816, 9.

26 Kruijt, Animisme, 2–3.

27 Walter Benjamin, “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction,” in H. Arendt, ed., Illuminations (New York: Schocken, 1969), 220.

28 Ibid., 222.

29 Lion Cachet, Een Jaar op Reis in Dienst der Zending, 339.

30 Clifford Geertz, The Religion of Java (Glencoe, Ill.: Free Press, 1964), 239.

31 Lion Cachet, Een Jaar op Reis in Dienst der Zending, 339.

32 For a discussion of the role of ascesis in the accumulation of power in traditional Javanese society, see Benedict Anderson, “The Idea of Power in Javanese Culture,” in Language and Power: Exploring Political Cultures in Indonesia (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1990 [1972]), 23–27.

33 Het geloof aan een leven hiernamaals in onze Oost,” De Macedoniër 6 (1888): 96105, 102.

34 Pol, Midden Java ten Zuiden, 34.

35 F. Lion Cachet, “Dwaalleeraar in Bagelen,” 229.

36 Ibid., 227.

37 “Rapport van de deputaten op Midden-Java aan de voorlopige synode van de Nederduits Geref. Kerken te Amsterdam (June 1892),” in H. Reenders, ed., De Gereformeerde Zending in Midden-Java: Een Bronnenpublicatie, 1859–1931 (Zoetermeer: Uitgeverij Boekencentrum, 2001), 212 (my emphasis).

38 Het geloof aan een leven hiernamaals in onze Oost,” De Macedoniër 6 (1888): 96105, 102–3 (my emphasis).

39 L. Adriaanse to de synodale deputaten voor de zending, 3 August 1896, in H. Reenders, ed., De Gereformeerde Zending in Midden-Java: Een Bronnenpublicatie, 1859–1931 (Zoetermeer: Uitgeverij Boekencentrum, 2001), 250.

40 Bieger to het hoofdbestuur van de NGZV, 4 March 1875, in H. Reenders, ed., De Gereformeerde Zending in Midden-Java: Een Bronnenpublicatie, 1859–1931 (Zoetermeer: Uitgeverij Boekencentrum, 2001), 138.

41 According to the Colonial Report (Het Koloniaal Verslag) of 1884, there were roughly eleven and a half thousand dukuns operating in Java and the nearby island of Madura, and their numbers were increasing. Turn of the century figures vary from roughly eighteen thousand in the Colonial Report of 1894 to thirty-three thousand in a regional survey conducted in 1902 that assumed one dukun per village (Liesbeth Hesselink, Healers on the Colonial Market: Native Doctors and Midwives in the Dutch East Indies [Leiden: KITLV Press, 2011], 13, 265). The missionary J. Kreemer reported that there was such a multitude of dukuns that a sick villager could visit four or five in a single day (“Hoe de Javaan zijne zieken verzorgt,” Mededeelingen vanwege het Nederlandsche Zendelinggenootschap [1892]: 5).

42 Schuurmans, “Javaansche Middelen tegen de Cholera,” 22–23.

43 N. A. De Gaay Fortman, De Geschiedenis der Medische Zending (Nijkerk: G. F. Callenbach, 1908), 27.

44 F. Lion Cachet, Een Jaar op Reis in Dienst der Zending, 458.

45 R., “Iets over Javaansch Bijgeloof,” 72–73.

46 Abraham Kuyper, “Medische Zending,” De Heraut van de Gereformeerde Kerken in Nederland (Amsterdam), 20 Dec. 1896.

47 Pruijs, “De studie van de Missionairen Arts,” 9.

48 Rutgers, Jacqueline, untitled entry, Jaarverslag der Vereeniging “Dr. Scheurer's Hospitaal” (Petronella-Hospitaal) 9 (1 Sept. 1904–31 Aug. 1905), 17.

49 Ibid., 15–16 (my emphasis).

50 Ibid., 16.

51 J. Groneman, “De Kliniek van den Zendeling-arts Scheurer te Jogjakarta,” De Locomotief, 21 Jan. 1898.

52 Ibid.

53 Ibid.

54 Nancy Florida uses this phrase to describe the process by which extraordinary powers are transferred from sacred objects (pusaka) to persons in possession of them, in Writing the Past, Inscribing the Future: History as Prophecy in Colonial Java (Durham: Duke University Press, 1995), 35.

55 Groneman, “De Kliniek,” 17.

56 Huishoudelijk Reglement van het Zendings-Hospitaal ‘Petronella’ te Jogjakarta, Article 4,” in Jaarverslag der Vereeniging ‘Dr. Scheurer's Hospitaal’ (Petronella-Hospitaal) 8 (1 Sept. 1903–31 Aug. 1904), 37.

57 Jaarverslag der Vereeniging ‘Dr. Scheurer's Hospitaal’ (Petronella-Hospitaal) 5 (1 Sept. 1900–31 Aug. 1901), 58.

58 Jaarverslag der Vereeniging ‘Dr. Scheurer's Hospitaal’ (Petronella-Hospitaal) 3 (1 Sept. 1898–31 Aug. 1899), 27.

59 J. G. Scheurer to Deputaten tot den Medischen Dienst, 7 Sept. 1897, fol. 112, Archief van de Zendende Kerk van Amsterdam (toegangsnr. 357), Utrecht Archives (henceforth AZK).

60 J. Donk, letter to the editor, Het Centrum (Solo), 15 Dec. 1897, in Jaarverslag der Vereeniging ‘Dr. Scheurer's Hospitaal’ (Petronella-Hospitaal) 2 (1 Oct. 1897–1 Oct. 1898), 8.

61 J. G. Scheurer to Deputaten tot den Medischen Dienst, 18 Apr. 1898, fol. 112, AZK.

62 Zwaan to Kerkenraad Amsterdam, 28 Oct. 1901, fol. 115, AZK.

63 It should be noted that celibacy itself was not a necessary virtue, nor was sexual vigor problematic among monogamous married people. The missionary Zwaan was himself a paragon of vigor. Like the changing of the winds, the coming of every rainy season was met with the arrival of a new Zwaan, every one of them male.

64 L. Th. Mayer, De Javaan als doekoen: een ethnografische bijdrage (Weltevreden: G. Kolff, 1918), 5; Offringa, Kerbode, Amsterdamsche, in Jaarverslag der Vereeniging ‘Dr. Scheurer's Hospitaal’ 17 (1 Sept. 1912–1 Sept. 1913), 5; Hesselink, Healers on the Colonial Market, ch. 2.

65 J. G. Scheurer to Deputaten tot den Medischen Dienst, 7 Sept. 1897, fol. 112, AZK.

66 J. Groneman, “De Kliniek,” 16–17.

67 Jaarverslag van de Vereeniging ‘Dr. Scheurer's Hospitaal’ (Petronella-Hospitaal) 8 (1 Sept. 1903–31 Aug. 1904): 10; Scheurer, J. G., “De Getuige (Batavia), in Amsterdamsche Kerkbode, 27 May 1906,” in Jaarverslag der Vereeniging ‘Dr. Scheurer's Hospitaal’ (Petronella-Hospitaal) 10 (1 Sept. 1905–31 Aug. 1906): 17.

68 Pruijs, H. S., “Concessies van den Missionairen Arts aan de belangen der Zending,” De Macedoniër 15 (1911): 4252, 46.

69 J. G. Scheurer to Kerkenraad van Amsterdam, 18 January 1904, in H. Reenders, ed., De Gereformeerde Zending in Midden-Java: Een Bronnenpublicatie, 1859–1931 (Zoetermeer: Uitgeverij Boekencentrum, 2001), 368.

70 Scheurer, J. G., letter to editors, Jaarverslag van de Vereeniging ‘Dr. Scheurer's Hospitaal’ 8 (1 Sept. 1903–31 Aug. 1904), 8.

71 [Johanna Kuyper or Jacqueline Rutgers], Jaarverslag van de Vereeniging ‘Dr. Scheurer's Hospitaal’ 7 (1 Sept. 1902–31 Aug. 1903), 1112.

72 Michel Foucault, The Birth of the Clinic: An Archaeology of Medical Perception (New York: Vintage, 1994 [1963]), xiii (my emphasis).

73 Ibid., xiv.

74 Abraham Kuyper, excerpt from De Gemeene Gratie in Wetenschap en Kunst (Amsterdam: Höveker & Wormser, 1905), in James D. Bratt, ed., Abraham Kuyper: A Centennial Reader (Grand Rapids, Mich.: W. B. Eerdmans, 1998), 458 (my emphasis). Kuyper was unaware of the historical specificity of this view of scientific observation. Daston and Galison have shown that the view of the scientist as passive observer was specific to the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the age of “mechanical objectivity” in which any imprint of the subjective (now tied mostly to the individual's will) tainted the assumed purity of an objective scientific truth. Prior to this period, the excellent scientist was understood as a person with a particular skill or genius for seeing past material particularities to more general and idealized truths in nature. Lorraine J. Daston and Peter Louis Galison, Objectivity (New York: Zone Books, 2007).

75 Randall C. Zachman, John Calvin as Teacher, Pastor, and Theologian: The Shape of His Writings and Thought (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker, 2006), 181.

76 Florida, Writing the Past, 276.

77 Jaarverslag der Vereeniging ‘Dr. Scheurer's Hospitaal’ (Petronella-Hospitaal) 3 (1 Sept. 1898–31 Aug. 1899), 36.

78 To be sure, as Webb Keane has shown, all words due to their materiality as “semiotic forms” possess the potential to become ritual objects. Missionary accounts of Sadrach and his followers' ritualistic use of biblical and liturgical language bears this out. Yet, as Keane writes, “If words are bodily forms for meanings, they are nonetheless superior to other nonlinguistic matter…. [I]t is language's capacity for conveying immaterial meanings that renders it the most suitable medium between merely material things and that which is fully divine” (67).

79 J. G. Scheurer to Deputaten tot den Medischen Dienst, 7 Sept. 1897, fol. 112, AZK.

80 J. G. Scheurer to Deputaten tot den Medischen Dienst, 19 Dec. 1898, fol. 112, AZK.

81 J. G. Scheurer to Kerkenraad van Amsterdam, 18 May 1903, fol. 112, AZK.

82 Zwaan to Kerkenraad van Amsterdam, 23 Nov. 1901, fol. 115, AZK.

83 Scheurer, J. G. to Deputaten tot den Medischen Dienst, 1 Jan. 1900, in Jaarverslag der Vereeniging ‘Dr. Scheurer's Hospitaal’ 4 (1 Sept. 1899–31 Aug. 1900): 1012.

84 Zwaan to Kerkenraad Amsterdam, 1 Aug. 1902, fol. 115, AZK.

85 Zwaan to Kerkenraad Amsterdam, 30 Jan. 1902, fol. 115, AZK.

86 Zwaan to Kerkenraad Amsterdam, 14 June 1902, fol. 115, AZK.

87 Bakker, “Het Schuldbesef,” 243.

88 J. G. Scheurer to Deputaten tot den Medischen Dienst, 5 May 1898, fol. 112, AZK.

89 Zwaan to Kerkenraad Amsterdam, 21 Dec. 1900, fol. 115, AZK.

90 J. G. Scheurer, “Preface,” in N. A. De Gaay Fortman, De Geschiedenis der Medische Zending (Nijkerk: G. F. Callenbach, 1908), vii–viii.

91 Offringa, J., in Dijkstra, H., “Hospitaal-Dienst op Java,” De Macedoniër 17 (1913): 333–34.

92 According to the mission's reports, the hospital's polyclinic served roughly thirty thousand patients a year in its first decade of operation, an average of roughly one hundred visitors a day. The hospital also served another 125 patients a day in its inpatient wards (J. G. Scheurer to Governor General, 5 Oct. 1905; and J. G. Scheurer to Kerkenraad Amsterdam, 24 Sept. 1900, fol. 112, AZK). By contrast, a roster of all official members of the Yogyakarta congregation in January of 1904 counted a mere 180 adults and children, a number that included ten Dutch missionaries and spouses and their eleven children (Zwaan, “Statistiek overzicht van den toestand op 't Zendingsterrein v/d Geref. Kerk van Amsterdam,” Jan. 1904, fol. 115, AZK).

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