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They Shall Expel Demons: Etiology, The Medical Canon And The Transformation Of Medical Techniques Before The Tang

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Chapter Summary

This chapter analyzes the transformation and new definition of demons as causes of disease that emerged between the Warring States and Six Dynasties periods, with a special focus on their role in the medical classics. The notion of demons as causes of disease passed through three stages. In the first stage, theories of internal causation that arose in the Warring States period combined with the doctrine of qi to emphasize the function of the spirit in the human body. The second stage coincided with advances in theories on external causation during the Han dynasty, based on external evils like wind and cold. Lastly, in the middle to late Eastern Han period, the frequent discussion of concepts like "hidden blame" or "left -over calamity" served again to confirm the existence of demonic haunting and at the same time added an ethical dimension at its root.

Keywords: death; demons; Han; human body; medical classics; qi; transformation; Warring states



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