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Plato's GhostSpiritualism in the American Renaissance$
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Cathy Guiterrez

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195388350

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195388350.001.0001

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Medicine

Medicine

Chapter:
(p.111) 5 Medicine
Source:
Plato's Ghost
Author(s):

Cathy Gutierrez (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195388350.003.0005

This chapter examines Spiritualist writings about health and the body. For a movement that was otherworldly in its focus, Spiritualists were extremely interested in medicine and many, including Andrew Jackson Davis, worked as healers and country doctors. In an epoch when bloodletting and heroic measures were still common, a spiritual or philosophical explanation for ill health was often preferable to mainstream authority. Spiritualists embraced the idea of the Grand Man from Swedenborg, where the microcosm of the human body reflected the macrocosm of the universe as a whole. Resembling the Kabbalah’s articulation of Adam Kadmon and tracing its roots to Plato’s Timaeus, this construction of the body as the cosmos in miniature did not distinguish between the material and spiritual worlds but rather saw them as united parts of the divine.

Keywords:   Andrew Jackson Davis, medicine, Kabbalah, Mesmerism, homeopathy, macrocosm, microcosm, Theosophy, alchemy

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