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Egyptian medicine versus Biblical medecine

Canopic Jars of Horemsaf 

All four canopic jars of Horemsaf     Room   E 18 876            Sully  room 15 showcase 1

These vessels once contained viscera wrapped in linen and buried in resins. Mummification (the term mumiyah, pitch) and embalming were important aspects of medical knowledge and discovery AE15, AE16 although anatomical and physiological remained limited.

According to the Ebers papyrus, a compilation of contemporary Egyptian therapeutic knowledge of the first books of the Bible (1550 BC), medical knowledge was purely empirical and trongly imbued with magic and superstition. AE17, AE18 

A prescription intended to promote healing AE19 , AE20 recommended the application of human excrement, another associated spells to disgust the demon of the human body he possessed.   


We find no trace of these ineffective or even dangerous treatments  in the writings of Moses, although he" was instructed in all the wisdom of the Egyptians." (Acts 7:22)

And hygiene measures imposed on the Israelites after the Exodus contrasts strikingly with many of the practices described in Egyptian texts.  AE21

 Mummification and embalming :
important vectors of Egyptian medical knowledge

  The Ebers Papyrus is one of the most ancient medical treatises which have reached us.

It was written between 1500 and 1600 BC, during the reign of Amenhotep Ier.

Discovered by Edwin Smith in Luxor in 1862, it was then bought by the German Egyptologist Georg Ebers, to whom it owes its name and its translation.

In 2008, it was kept in the university library in Leipzig.


 The Ebers Papyrus

Medical Papyrus    E 32847     (not on show)
This unique medical papyrus of the New Kingdom (1550-1050 BC) is the world's second famous due to its size (7 feet), the with and amount of text that it contains. It is written on both sides continuously but by two different scribes. These texts relating to sizes provide indirect lighting on the unexpected portion of the book of Exodus on the plagues of Egypt. They demonstrate the importance of pustules at both pathological than religious. They detail the association of the most terrible of them with the god Khonsu. The editor of the Biblical text was undoubtedly aware of this link.
The Law contained and preventive measures against the spread of infectious diseases. These include the quarantine (Leviticus 13:1-5), the prophylaxis and purification in case of contamination (Leviticus 11:27-38), circumcision AE22, AE23 performed on the eighth day (Leviticus 12:3), the burial of feces (Deuteronomy 23:13), dietary laws (Leviticus 11:4-8).

The sanitary code of the Israelites contrast
with the dangerous practices of Egyptian doctors

"The eighth day

the flesh of his foreskin

will be circumcised "

Leviticus 12:3

 Circumcision    Inv 518

Giulio Pippi,

  Wood transposed on         canvas  About 1490

Biblical medecine : wise and accurate

These high standards of hygiene also involved mental health and compliance with requirements of sexual morality which led to divine protection (Exodus 20:14; Leviticus 18).

The accuracy of biblical statements and the wisdom of

such a sanitary code AE25 far ahead of its time

are in stark contrast with the surrounding nation’s medical practices. AE26, AE27

"If we take into account the amount of vitamin K and prothrombin produced on the eight day, we see that it is ideal to practice circumcision on the eighth since it is at its peek. "

Dr S. McMillen AE24

The law of God is "perfect, [...] making the inexperienced one wise, […] in the keeping of (these decisions) there is a large reward" said David, calling its author as one "who is healing all your maladies." - Psalm 19:7,11; 103:3


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