And still more evidence that you learn something new every day.

Like most ErosBlog readers (I assume) I was familiar with with John Wesley (1703-1791) as a prominent eighteenth-century churchman and theologian, one of the founders of the Protestant denomination known as Methodism. Something I didn’t know was that Wesley was in his lifetime also the author of a popular book on natural medicine called Primitive Physic, emphasizing cures for illness that would not rely on physicians. Unusual, but not too surprising, I suppose. But as I read through the article on the subject, I found that Wesley had some interesting advice for curing tuberculosis, at least in men. The advice itself isn’t all that unusual, but Wesley’s mode of expressing it is, well…

In the last stage, fuck a healthy woman daily. This cured my Father.

A robust mode of expression rather unlike that of the many Methodists I’ve met in my lifetime. Best guess as to why is that the imperative verb was regarded as less coarse in the eighteenth century and earlier than it subsequently became, not having acquired the secondary connotation of harm it subsequently acquired. It seems, for instance, that at least as the seventeenth century approached, the name “windfucker” was used as a common term for the kestrel, a name perhaps inspired by that hovering bird’s characteristic mode of flying (the Oxford English Dictionary gives a 1599 use “The kistrilles or windfuckers that filling themselues with winde, fly against the winde euermore.”)

Or maybe old John Wesley and his reading audience were just a little more dirty-minded than we would expect. Anyone who knows should certainly comment.

Hat tip to Pharyngula.