Spirits with Scalpels: The Cultural Biology of Religious Healing in Brazil
Left Coast Press
“The first time I witnessed a Spiritist surgery, a young man named Jose Carlos Ribeiro inserted a used scalpel taken from a tray that I was holding, and plunged it into the eye of an elderly man. The patient did not move….” Decades of fieldwork later, Sidney Greenfield presents a riveting ethnography of the complex world of religious healing in Brazil that challenges readers to grapple with the most fundamental concepts of anthropology and cross-cultural experience. In a major contribution to cultural biology, he analyses the complex social, economic, and political landscape of Brazil to understand dramatic healing practices that seem to defy medical explanation. This engrossing and provocative book will put students and scholars alike on the edge of their seats.