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Spirits with Scalpels: The Cultural Biology of Religious Healing in Brazilby Sidney M. Greenfield
Synopses & Reviews
and#8220;The first time I witnessed a Spiritist surgery, a young man named Jose Carlos Ribeiro inserted a used scalpel taken from a tray that I was holding, and plunged it into the eye of an elderly man. The patient did not moveand#8230;.and#8221; Decades of fieldwork later, Sidney Greenfield presents a riveting ethnography of the complex world of religious healing in Brazil that challenges readers to grapple with the most fundamental concepts of anthropology and cross-cultural experience. In a major contribution to cultural biology, he analyses the complex social, economic, and political landscape of Brazil to understand dramatic healing practices that seem to defy medical explanation. This engrossing and provocative book will put students and scholars alike on the edge of their seats.
Sidney Greenfield presents a riveting ethnography of the complex world of religious practitioners in Brazil that challenges readers to grapple with the dramatic healing practices that seem to defy medical explanation.
About the Author
This engagingly written book is a must-read for anthropologists working and teaching in the fields of religion, anthropological theory, medical anthropology, and alternative medicine. It will also appeal to a wide audience outside of academe because it provides ethnographic descriptions of little known but fascinating ritual healing practices.” —Robert Anderson, M.D., Ph.D., Professor and Department Head, Sociology and Anthropology, Mills College
"Greenfield's ethnographic descriptions are captivating. Spirits with Scalpels will make an excellent textbook for courses in medical anthropology/sociology and for students in the medical field who are interested in issues at the intersection of culture and health. I will definitely use it for my classes, because through his analysis of spirit healing and cultural biology Greenfield clearly addresses anthropology's fundamental concepts, methods, and approaches." —Alexander Rödlach, Creighton University
" Spirits with Scalpels is the culmination of a lifetime of pioneering research integrating fascinating insights about mind-body healing on all levels. He tells us the inside stories documenting healers in many of Brazils diverse religious traditions. He updates it with the leading edge of the most recent laboratory research on the molecular-genomic foundations of mind and matter. This volume is a classic of field research that would no longer be possible to carry out today. " - Ernest L. Rossi, PhD, author of A Discourse with our Genes and The Psychobiology of Gene Expression
" Spirits with Scalpels is a breakthrough book that takes the social and biological sciences to a level of understanding and experimentation that is both provocative and profound. Students of Brazil and scholars interested in the interface of religion and healing also will enjoy Dr. Greenfield\'s fascinating descriptions of ritual practices and the art of healing as performed by folk healers with and without scalpels. " - Stanley Krippner, Saybrook Graduate School, author of Varieties of Anomalous Experience and Haunted by Combat
" From the very first page, Spirits with Scalpels is very hard to put down. The reader is led on an adventure greater than any that NASA has promised. Author Sidney M. Greenfield, a widely trained and careful anthropologist, takes you step by step into the precisely documented, witnessed and filmed worlds of Spiritist surgery and other religious therapies in Brazil. If you do not want your mind expanded and new possibilities added to your belief system, do not read this book. The converse is also true. " - Lawrence LeShan, PhD, author of The Dilemma of Psychology and The Medium, the Mystic, and the Physicist: Toward a General Theory of the Paranormal
"Spirits with Scalpels is an outstanding book by an outstanding scholar... The book contains vivid accounts of the work done by a number of healer-me- diums and examines their interaction with patients. Each practitioner is placed in the context of his or her religious tradition. The result is fascinating anthropology and compelling reading."
- Rafael L. López Valdés, Ph.D., Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Anthropology
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