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Old 04-07-2001, 01:13 AM   #1
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Post Counterexamples to Michael Turton's Discussion of Daoist Alchemists?

I think that I have discovered some possible counterexamples to Michael Turton's presentation of Daoist alchemists as well-documented miracle-workers; these counterexamples related to the kind of "medicine" Jesus Christ was described as practicing.

In the NT, JC had practiced a lot of faith healing and exorcism of demons; there has been no shortage of either in Christendom. That might be called a "science" that JC had left to his followers, but the NT does not contain detailed instructions on how to drive out demons and what to do in case there are no nearby herds of pigs to serve as new homes for those demons. Which makes it a rather poor sort of "science".
Old 04-07-2001, 05:00 AM   #2
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I wouldn't call it a "counterexample." I think exorcism is a good example of a magic ritual in Christianity, part of the "system" left to us by Jesus and later elaborated by other practitioners.

However, the Catholic Encyclopedia denies this interpretation:

"The word, which is not itself biblical, is derived from exorkizo, which is used in the Septuagint (Genesis 24:3 = cause to swear; III(I) Kings 22:16 = adjure), and in Matthew 26:63, by the high priest to Christ, "I adjure thee by the living God..." The non-intensive horkizo and the noun exorkistes (exorcist) occur in Acts 19:13, where the latter (in the plural) is applied to certain strolling Jews who professed to be able to cast out demons. Expulsion by adjuration is, therefore, the primary meaning of exorcism, and when, as in Christian usage, this adjuration is in the name of God or of Christ, exorcism is a strictly religious act or rite. But in ethnic religions, and even among the Jews from the time when there is evidence of its being vogue, exorcism as an act of religion is largely replaced by the use of mere magical and superstitious means, to which non-Catholic writers at the present day sometimes quite unfairly assimilate Christian exorcism. Superstition ought not to be confounded with religion, however much their history may be interwoven, nor magic, however white it may be, with a legitimate religious rite."

Intelligent readers will wonder whether this is a prime example of the ethnocentric "my magic is miracles, your magic is magic" argument that I alluded to in the piece I wrote.


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