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Good physic but bad food : early-modern attitudes to medicinal cannibalism and its suppliers.

Sugg, R. (2006) 'Good physic but bad food : early-modern attitudes to medicinal cannibalism and its suppliers.', Social history of medicine., 19 (2). pp. 225-240.


The subject of medicinal cannibalism in mainstream western medicine has received surprisingly little historical attention. This paper argues that this phenomenon, far from being as marginal as its neglected status might imply, was closely integrated with many underlying medical theories in the early modern period. Moreover, the phenomenon sheds valuable light on the authority of learned medicine, attitudes to cannibalism and to the often emphatically spiritual basis of Paracelsian medicine. This article aims to show that, while widely accepted by patients and practitioners, corpse medicine was legitimised by a mixture of potentially incompatible factors, including rarity, spiritual virtue, learned authority and commercial normalisation. As historical circumstances changed, these factors would ultimately undermine a once mainstream medical treatment.

Item Type:Article
Keywords:Corpse medicine, Paracelsianism, Eucharist, Soul.
Full text:Full text not available from this repository.
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Record Created:13 May 2008
Last Modified:08 Apr 2009 16:23

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