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The University of Southampton
The Parkes Institute

POSTPONED: Why Are Skeletons Like Texts? Combatting Bias and Methodological Demons in the Study of Ancient Jewish Medicine and Magic Seminar

17 March 2020
Lecture Theatre C, Avenue Campus, University of Southampton, Southampton SO17 1BF

For more information regarding this seminar, please email Parkes Institute at .

Event details

Part of The Parkes Institute's Research Seminar Series for 2019/20.

The traditional study of ancient Jewish medicine emphasises divine sources of healing, and religious distinctiveness in contrast to Hippocratic medicine. Research in ancient Mediterranean and Near Eastern medicine and magic has since evolved to incorporate material culture (tools, artefacts, art) and in some cases osteoarchaeology (human remains) rather than relying on just textual studies alone. But how to avoid being overwhelmed by the data and sources available in such a naturally interdisciplinary area? How might we conduct intentionally-systematic studies of ancient medicine, in an open and organised way, so that others may achieve similar results? Using examples from current research combining historical philology and osteoarchaeology, it is shown that a more systematic and scientific approach to the study of ancient Jewish medicine and magic is both achievable and necessary for advancement in the field.

(Image Source:  Crump, J.A. 1901. ‘Trephining in the South Seas’. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland 31: 167–72.)

Speaker information

Dr Lindsey Askin , University of Bristol. Lecturer in Jewish Studies, Department of Religion and Theology

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