Community Scholar Talk at LaGrange Public Library
The Community Scholars Program provides presentations on themes ranging from exhibition highlights to our archaeological research and discoveries.
Magic and Medicine in Ancient Egypt
Joey Cross, PhD student in Egyptology and Hebrew Bible
Magic and medicine are two of the great legacies of Egyptian civilization. To us, these two concepts are completely at odds with each other. When it comes to the Ancient Egyptians, however, how can we make sense of the fact that the same Egyptian word meant both “prescription” and “magic potion”? Why would an Egyptian physician, who had generations of medical cases, hypotheses, diagnoses, and treatment courses at his disposal when treating a patient, sometimes recite a spell, or appeal to a myth? Join us in this lecture as we answer these questions and learn how, for the Egyptians, the practical and symbolic worlds of magic and medicine were intimately related. We will also see how their legacy impacted the wider Mediterranean world, with examples in Greek, Hebrew, and Christian thought and practice.