What is Divine about Medicine? Mysteric Imagery and Bodily Knowledge in Aelius Aristides and Lucian
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This study draws on Sullivan's work and argues that in the second century CE a major strand of bodily knowledge was transmitted through culturally shaped experiences of the body. Sullivan, who studied extensively 'the medical ritual systems' of traditional communities in the Americas, South Africa, Oceania, and Japan, concluded that the members of these communities acquired much of their knowledge about the body through life- and status-changing ritual experiences, such as rites of passages, initiatory rites and purification. In a similar vein, I argue that the body in Aristides and Lucian's works is construed, fragmented and reassembled in ritual and that its processes are thought of as controlled and determined by ritual contact with local healing deities, such as Asclepius of Pergamum and neos Asklepios Glykon ('the Gentle One') of Abonouteichos.