"SCIENCE" VS. "RELIGION" IN CLASSICAL AYURVEDA

in Numen
Restricted Access
Get Access to Full Text
Rent on DeepDyve

Have an Access Token?



Enter your access token to activate and access content online.

Please login and go to your personal user account to enter your access token.



Help

Have Institutional Access?



Access content through your institution. Any other coaching guidance?



Connect

Abstract

This paper evaluates claims that classical Ayurveda was scientific, in a modern western sense, and that the many religious and magical elements found in the texts were all either stale Vedic remnants or later brahminic impositions. It argues (1) that Ayurveda did not manifest standard criteria of "science" (e.g., materialism, empirical observation, experimentation, falsification, quantification, or a developed conception of proof) and (2) that Vedic aspects of the classical texts are too central to be considered inauthentic or marginal. These points suggest that attempting to apply the modern western categories of "science" and "religion" to ancient South Asian medical texts at best obscures more important issues and, at worst, imports inappropriate orientalist assumptions. Having set aside the distraction of "science" vs. "religion" in classical Ayurveda, the paper finds support for claims that brahminic elements were later additions to the texts. It concludes by arguing that this is best explained not in terms of a conceptual tension between religion and science but in terms of social and economic tensions between physicians and brahmins.

"SCIENCE" VS. "RELIGION" IN CLASSICAL AYURVEDA

in Numen

Sections

Index Card

Content Metrics

Content Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 8 8 3
Full Text Views 11 11 4
PDF Downloads 4 4 3
EPUB Downloads 0 0 0