The On The Sacred Disease Essay

1591 Words Sep 29th, 2016 7 Pages
With a staggering nineteen millennia separating them, one would assume the intellectuals Bronislaw Malinowski and Hippocrates would have few analogous conclusions. Unbenounced to Hippocrates in the fourth century BC, his corpus’ essay “On the Sacred Disease,” would act as support to Malinowski’s anthropological study of magic amongst primitive peoples in the twentieth century entitled “Magic, Science and Religion.” Malinowski’s essay not only analyzes the origin of magic but also deciphers whether or not antediluvian societies acknowledge a line between magic and science. Similarly, Hippocrates muses on the subject of epilepsy, the disease’s genesis, and why “witch doctors” resort to supernal cures opposed to systematic medical approaches. To truly understand the similarities within the two essays, one must first interpret the inner workings of Malinowski’s ideas before applying them to Hippocrates’ postulates in the fashion of a critical lense. Malinowski begins “Magic, Science and Religion” by clearly defining two “domains”: the domain of magic and religion versus the domain of science. Though the domain of science is often believed to be absent amongst primitive people, Malinowski asserts that there are not “... Savage races lacking either in the scientific attitude or in science” (Malinowski, 1954, 17). Specifically, Malinowski argues that survival practices, art, and crafting display an observance of natural processes that can be considered a form of rudimentary…

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