Which takes us back around to the original basis of the D&D cleric: a Van Helsing character who could go up against Lord Fang the vampire. The Bishop Odo stuff was the sort of historical precedent loved by wargamers at the time but the cleric as a character class is Van Helsing presented as Bishop Odo.If you let go of the requirement for a mace, then it becomes about what level of religious activity qualifies someone as a "Cleric" vs. a "Fighter" - all around the world people have used prayers, invocations, and various types of magical rituals to improve their odds in battle, up to several groups which believe being possessed by spirits is the ideal method for combat. (whether you want to call that being a Cleric or just a subset of a Berserker type class is up to you...).
And one can note that at that point, there was no 'blunt weapons only' requirement-only that clerics couldn't use magic swords.Which takes us back around to the original basis of the D&D cleric: a Van Helsing character who could go up against Lord Fang the vampire. The Bishop Odo stuff was the sort of historical precedent loved by wargamers at the time but the cleric as a character class is Van Helsing presented as Bishop Odo.
Well, again, rangers became the two-weapon fighting guys in 2e, at the same point where they stopped wearing the full battlefield armor Ulrich undoubtedly wore.Another historical data point would be Ulrich Zwingli, who (according to at least one contemporaneous source) rode into battle wielding a sword in one hand and an axe in the other, making him, I suppose, more of a ranger.
The cleric and the magic user both have supernatural powers loosely based on folklore, myth and legend from a number of sources. But, once you've divided 'magic' up into divine power and, er, secular power, it's almost natural (at least for someone with E Gary Gaygax's background) to give most of the healing powers to the divine caster rather than the other one, since healing is about as far from transgressive as you can get.Or one reason, at least. There are plenty of warlike prophets and priest-kings in the Old Testament, too, and they also manifest healing powers on occasion.