The Center for the Study of Religion and the Undergraduate Religious Studies Club present "Religions of the World Past and Present" Public Lecture Series.
In the Greek and Roman world, scientific medicine and healing rituals coexisted: depending on the specific disease, people chose the one or the other approach. In my lecture, I will study several areas of ritual healing. One is dream incubation, for which patients slept in a sanctuary (most often of the god Asclepius) who appeared in a dream to heal them or reveal a prescription. Another area is healing through confession, as it was practiced especially in Roman Phrygia. Here, a disease was often understood as divine punishment for a transgression: the patient would seek healing through public confession of the transgression, and the confession was recorded in an inscription, for all to read. A third area is magic, that is disease that was sent by an evil spell and warded off with an amulet. We still possess some of these amulets written on small sheets of precious metal, and magical books have preserved many of the spells.