The soother of evil pains: Asclepius and Freud

  • Sharon Beth Kool University of KwaZulu-Natal
Keywords: Asclepius, Freud, psychotherapy, interpretation of dreams


Freud’s rejection of nineteenth century psychiatry and neurology encouraged him to look for new models of diagnosis and healing. While Western medical discourse was founded upon the Hippocratic corpus, this paper argues that psychoanalysis contains many elements that can be traced to the healing cult of Asclepius. A close reading of Freud’s texts reveals that he was aware of the practice of incubation at sites of healing such as Epidaurus and Pergamum and that this knowledge was incorporated into his theory and practice of dream interpretation. 

Author Biography

Sharon Beth Kool, University of KwaZulu-Natal
School of religion, philosophy and classicsPost doctoral candidate


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