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Disease Once Sacred -

Disease Once Sacred

A History of the Medical Understanding of Epilepsy

By M J Eadie, P F Bladin



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Epilepsy has been known to afflict human beings throughout most of the span of recorded history. In ancient times it was referred to as the "sacred disease", and this was the title of what was, until quite recently, the earliest known surviving written work on the disorder. However, an that ancient account the term "sacred disease" was used ironically, the argument being that the disorder was anything but sacred in its nature. It was simply a physical illness and not the product of some supernatural intervention into the course of human life. Over the many centuries, there have been two major rival schools of interpretation of the nature of the process responsible for causing epileptic seizures. Until relatively recent years, the nature of epilepsy was commonly understood in the general community as an outcome of the activity of supernatural powers, of various and different kinds. remnants of such beliefs still linger today, even in advanced societies. Medical or biological understanding of epilepsy has emerged gradually and has become the preferred system of interpretations of the nature of epilepsy for most educated people at the present time. The details of this understanding can be expected to change further as knowledge advances. This book is not intended to provide a general history of epilepsy but is more a history of ideas concerning epilepsy. In discussing this matter it seemed desirable to also touch on aspects of th supernaturally based understandings of the disorder, both to set certain maters in perspective and because, over the centuries, scientific and non-scientific thinking have not necessarily been mutually exclusive in attempting to interpret the nature of epilepsy.

Product code: 9780861966073

ISBN 9780861966073
Uses knowledge of epilepsy and epileptic seizures as a yardstick against which to interpret the thinking of the past. This book attempts to trace the development of thought about individual aspects of the understanding of epilepsy one after the other and on a chronological basis.