It is not difficult to produce quotable 'old masters' from either classical or late antiquity on this subject of sick and suffering humanity - Aeschylus, in the Agamemnon, on 'wisdom through suffering', the encapsulation of a whole philosophy with pain at its focus;2 Aristotle: 'pain perturbs and destroys the nature of the sufferer but pleasure does nothing of the sort';3 Epicurus: 'pain does not last continuously in the flesh: when acute it is there for a short time ... and chronic illnesses contain an excess of pleasure in the flesh over pain';4 Seneca: 'pain is slight if not reinforced by opinion';5 Jesus, as quoted in the Epistle of Barnabas: 'those who wish to see me and attain to my kingdom must lay hold of me through pain and suffering';6 the pagan Caecilius in Minucius Felix's Octavius, strikingly characterizing Christians in somatic rather than doctrinal terms, as 'parched with fever, racked with pain';7 Jerome: 'am I in good health? I thank my Creator. Am I sick? In this case, too, I praise God's will.'8 Very particular pains, not just pain and illness in general, may be similarly 'theory-laden'. Contradicting any notion of the Virgin's Immaculate Conception, there is a tenth-century (or earlier) 'Praise of the Archangel Michael' written in Coptic: a lengthy prayer for healing in which the individual labour pains of the Virgin are not only invoked but even named.9