PSYCHOTHERAPY SCIENTIFIC AND RELIGIOUS

A Broad Perspective on Mental Healing

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72           PSYCHOTHERAPY : SCIENTIFIC AND RELIGIOUS chap.
put upon the Egyptians, for I am the Lord that healeth thee ' (Exod. xv, 20). Whispering soothes the patient, induces relaxation, and thus puts him into a suggestible condition. Although the priests had to include among their other duties those of health officer, there was a special class of physicians. The famous panegyric upon them in Ecclesiasticus (xxxviii, 1-15) is very remarkable. It is an injunction to honour the physician not only because of his utilitarian value, but because he was made by God, and with him the drugs he used. Healing came from God and therefore the skill of the doctor was His gift. In time of sickness the patient was told to pray to Yahweh and call in the physician. The last verse, ' He that sinneth before his Maker, let him fall into the hands of the physician ', is usually interpreted as a satire ; it is typically Greek and is the work of the Greek translator. In the Hebrew the thought is entirely in harmony with the rest of the passage. It might well be translated, ' He that sinneth against God will be rude to his physician \
I In addition to their special insight, the prophets had the gift of healing. Isaiah, for instance, ordered a remedy for King Hezekiah when he was suffering from a boil. A plaster of figs was to be applied to the place (Isa. xxxviii, 21). Again, Elisha cured Naaman of leprosy by telling him to wash seven times in the River Jordan (2 Kings v, 1-27). It is interesting to note that the water of the Jordan was not supposed to contain any healing value.
The Hebrew term for magic is kishef which, like many ancient technical expressions, is of obscure origin, and though many attempts have been made to elucidate its primitive meaning, not one has proved satisfactory. Cognate languages provided us with a clue, however. In Arabic, Keshef may mean divination and the