"You Will Find it in the Pharmacy": Physicians, Pharmacologists, and Practical Kabbalists in the Early Modern Period

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Yohanan Petrovsky-Shtern

Northwestern University, Chicago

December 11, 2014 / 6.00 pm

Center for Urban History, Lviv

This lecture is devoted to natural medicine, which combined early modern magic with Paracelsus’s pharmacology, which was popular in Poland. Popular medical publications in Polish and Hebrew, which appeared in the early 18th century, show that there was a common domain of Polish-Jewish beliefs and understanding of human physiology. Carriers of these beliefs were Jewish Baal Shem (shamans, practical Kabbalists), who emerged as mediators between early modern Polish pharmacy and Jewish communities. We will consider the environment of these shamans, on the one hand the founder of Hasidism Baal Shem Tov, and on the other hand early modern Polish pharmacy.

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Yohanan Petrovsky-Shtern

is a professor of Jewish history and Jewish studies at the Department of History at Northwestern University, Chicago. He teaches early modern and modern Jewish history, introduction to Judaism, Jewish mysticism, and Jewish themes in world literature. Petrovsky-Shtern has taught at various institutions, including the Kyiv-Mohyla Academy, University of Jerusalem, and Harvard. He is the author of more than a hundred academic papers and six books.