PSYCHOTHERAPY SCIENTIFIC AND RELIGIOUS

A Broad Perspective on Mental Healing

Home | About | Alternative Health | Contact




50           PSYCHOTHERAPY : SCIENTIFIC AND RELIGIOUS chap.
papyri, and this appeal to experience which indicates a desire to justify magic as science, points to the possibility of a real science arising out of it. Already a distinction was beginning to occur between medicine and magic. In the medical papyri a difference is made between ' remedies ' (phrt), which are lists of drugs with directions for use, and ' incantations y (sent), of which the main feature is a mystical formula to be pronounced. This distinction is made very clear in the Ebers Papyrus, which gives a valuable insight into the origin and development of early medicine. Dr. Ebbell51 in his new English version says, ' There is . . . every reason to believe that the science of medicine has its origin in the Nile Valley \ Indeed, the perfection of Egyptian embalming is still the mystery of the world. There cannot be the slightest doubt that Egyptian medicine was the offspring of magic and that it never became emancipated from its parent. The medical books are seldom free from incantations and the magical papyri are leavened with medical prescriptions. Nor must it be supposed that there was no great difference between the two. The medical prescriptions consisted mainly, if not wholly, of the enumeration of drugs and directions for their use. The diagnosis which is ushered in by the words, ' so shalt thou say ', and which sometimes precedes the list of drugs, may owe its origin to oral rites of magic. In the medical papyri a difference is made between an incantation and a remedy, the latter being the list of drugs. Accordingly, there was a corresponding difference between magician and physician; the latter might be a layman, but the former had to be a priest. Remedies were used for the simpler maladies ; incantations were reserved for the more dangerous ones. In the latter cases the intervention of faith was a necessity; something marvellous was wanted