Medicine, Magic and Religion

Routledge
Free sample

One of the most fascinating men of his generation, W.H.R. Rivers was a British doctor and psychiatrist as well as a leading ethnologist. Immortalized as the hero of Pat Barker's award-winning Regeneration trilogy, Rivers was the clinician who, in the First World War, cared for the poet Siegfried Sassoon and other infantry officers injured on the western front. His researches into the borders of psychiatry, medicine and religion made him a prominent member of the British intelligentsia of the time, a friend of H.G. Wells, George Bernard Shaw and Bertrand Russell. Part of his appeal lay in an extraordinary intellect, mixed with a very real interest in his fellow man. Medicine, Magic and Religion is a prime example of this. A social institution, it is one of Rivers' finest works. In it, Rivers introduced the then revolutionary idea that indigenous practices are indeed rational, when viewed in terms of religious beliefs.
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About the author

W.H.R. Rivers (1864-1922) was a pioneer in the fields of neurology, psychology and anthropology. During the First World War he worked as a psychiatrist at Maghull and Craiglockhart military hospitals.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Routledge
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Published on
Jan 11, 2013
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Pages
144
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ISBN
9781134524549
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Language
English
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Genres
Religion / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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This book explores the cultural history of embryology in Tibet, in culture, religion, art and literature, and what this reveals about its medicine and religion. Filling a significant gap in the literature this is the first in-depth exploration of Tibetan medical history in the English language. It reveals the prevalence of descriptions of the development of the human body – from conception to birth – found in all forms of Tibetan religious literature, as well as in medical texts and in art.

By analysing stories of embryology, Frances Garrett explores questions of cultural transmission and adaptation: How did Tibetan writers adapt ideas inherited from India and China for their own purposes? What original views did they develop on the body, on gender, on creation, and on life itself?

The transformations of embryological narratives over several centuries illuminate key turning points in Tibetan medical history, and its relationship with religious doctrine and practice. Embryology was a site for both religious and medical theorists to contemplate profound questions of being and becoming, where topics such as pharmacology and nosology were left to shape secular medicine. The author argues that, in terms of religion, stories of human development comment on embodiment, gender, socio-political hierarchy, religious ontology, and spiritual progress. Through the lens of embryology, this book examines how these concerns shift as Tibetan history moves through the formative 'renaissance' period of the twelfth through to the seventeenth centuries.

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