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Article
September 27, 1924

Medicine, Magic and Religion. The Fitz-Patrick Lectures delivered before The Royal College of Physicians of London in 1915 and 1916.

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By W. H. R. Rivers, M.A., M.D., D.Sc. With a preface by G. Elliot Smith, F.R.S. Cloth. Price, $3.75. Pp. 147. New York: Harcourt, Brace & Company, Inc., 1924.

JAMA. 1924;83(13):1023. doi:10.1001/jama.1924.02660130063039

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Abstract

The essays that constitute this volume were delivered as the Fitz-Patrick lectures at the Royal College of Physicians of London (in 1915-1916) and were subsequently published in the Lancet. It was Dr. Rivers' intention to elaborate this material for publication as a comprehensive treatise on primitive medicine, but his untimely death interfered with this plan, and the lectures are now issued as originally worked up. The book considers the relationship between medicine and magic, the latter term indicating those changes ascribed to human agency, and the treatment of which involves no elements of appeal to a deity. The superstitions and magical formulas used by savage races are given in detail. A second chapter takes up such matters as tabu, and the way in which magical formulas acquire religious significance. The third chapter concerns the institutions of the various savage tribes and the evolution of medicine and magic, and particularly such

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