Legitimizing Spiritual Healing: The Right to Folk Medicine in Contemporary South Korea and Israel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

In Korea and Israel, many people in hypermodern urban areas believe that illness can occur due to supernatural interventions, be it grudging spirits in Korea, or godly punishment for lack of observance in the Jewish tradition. Improvement of health is believed to be possible through venerating supernatural entities who can enhance personal prosperity. In the perspective of musok (Korean shamanism), patients of shinbyŏng (spirit possession sickness) can be healed only when they are initiated as manshin (shamans) and learn to communicate with the supernatural in self-controlled possession rituals. There are 300,000 practitioners of musok listed in their professional organizations, which means millions of clients who view such healing treatments as beneficial. Nevertheless, no such healing is proposed by scientifically trained medical specialists. Similarly, in the case of Jewish spiritual healing practiced through venerating spirits of tsaddikim (righteous men), there is no institutional medical legitimization to these widespread healing treatments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)39-45
Number of pages7
JournalUrbanities
Volume12
StatePublished - Apr 2022

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