Drug Abuse in Scripture and Other extra-Biblical Writings
A GREEK - HEBREW LEXICON OF DRUG ABUSE AND OTHER RELATED IN SCRIPTURE
A GREEK-ENGLISH LEXICON OF THE NEW TESTAMENT
John Dawson A.B. 1831 Revised W.C. Taylor LL.D 1861
W.C. Taylor of Trinity College, Dublin died before publication of the New Revised Edition of 1861
φαρμακεία pharmakeia direct lexicon link
THE CAMBRIDGE GREEK TESTAMENT 1914
A. Lukyn Williams D.D.
The Use of Drugs as Media in Magic - not Medicine
Reproduced from the Cambridge Greek Testament 1914 ‘Notes to Galatians’ (5:20) p.124 by A. Lukyn Williams D.D. (1853-1943) courtesy Cambridge University Press 2008. This work entered the Public domain in 2014.
Now available Free from e-Sword
MANUAL GREEK LEXICON OF THE NEW TESTAMENT (P.466)
George Abbott-Smith D.D. D.C.L. LL.D
First published UK 1922 - Third Edition 1937
Reproduced by Kind Permission T&T Clark Ltd. Edinburgh, Scotland, 1993 for non-commercial use.
Catalogued Internet Archive USA
from the Scribner Publication, New York, 1922
φάρμακον phármakon - φαρμακεία pharmakeia - φαρμακός pharmakós
Hastings’ Dictionary of the Apostolic Church vol 2 p.519 Article ‘Sorcery’
James Hastings M.A. D.D. 1852-1922
A HEBREW AND ENGLISH LEXICON OF THE OLD TESTAMENT
The Oxford Hebrew Lexicon (OHL)
Eds. Francis Brown, S.R. Driver and Charles A. Briggs
First Edition 1907
Through the Semitic root (RS) the magical ‘cutter’ or ‘off-cutter’. One who prepares potions, charms or philters from the magical plant cuttings.
In the Greek Old Testament (LXX) compiled from the original Hebrew from about c. 250 BC this word translates almost uniformly as the φαρμακευς pharmakeùs, the ‘drug magician’, ‘an enchanter with drugs’ as later reciprocated in the New Testament and other Early Christian Writings.
160w approx. from p.506 A Hebrew and English Lexicon of the Old Testament Eds. Francis Brown, S.R. Driver and Charles A. Briggs (Second Printing 1975) by kind permission Oxford University Press.
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THE HEBREW ראש Rô’sh = THE OPIUM POPPY
‘[...L]est there be among you a root bearing [a] poisonous (ראש Rôsh) and bitter fruit’ Deuteronomy 29:18 RSV
In later Hebrew ‘any bitter poison in general’
Cf. Deuteronomy 29:18 (17) KJV (3) / RV (1) marginal reference ‘poisonful herb’
+ Deuteronomy 32:32-33 KJV - Heb - LXX etc.
A Hebrew and English Lexicon p.965
William Gesenius trans. Edward Robinson
Crocker & Brewster, Boston 1844
For the full list of Plants in the Bible (including ‘Gall’=Opium)
NOTES TO LEXICON
In the technical sense, as noted by the Dawson - Taylor Greek-English Lexicon (above) and particularly Hastings’ Dictionary of the Apostolic Church, vol. ii p.519 (article ‘sorcery’ above) this ancient word means: the use of drugs 'with magic' to produce an effect either good or evil. Hypnotic drugs for example are prescribed in modern medicine. The powerful hallucinogenic LSD-25 was at one time prescribed as an analytical agent in the psychiatric clinic. The drug was however later banned due to widespread non-clinical abuses.
The opium derived painkiller diamorphine (Heroin) is also widely prescribed in modern medicine though again the drug is much open to non-clinical abuses.
It is clear that Scripture itself is never anti-medicinal and great works have been compiled which elucidate Biblical and Talmudic medicine.† In example the Magi or wise men from the east brought, along with gold and frankincense, a gift of myrrh at the Epiphany of Jesus. (Saint Matthew 2:1-12). Myrrh, the dried resin of Balsamodendron myrrha was greatly valued in the ancient east for its healing and embalming properties and as such, emblematic of the Life and Death of Christ, was clearly acceptable in the sight of God. In the original Greek of the Scriptures the word for ‘Saviour’ Σωτήρ Sõtér is in fact a form of the Greek root σώζω sõzõ meaning ‘to heal’.
Similarly, Saint Luke, the missionary companion of Saint Paul is clearly termed ‘the beloved physician’, the Ιατρός Iatrós, again from the Greek root Ιάομαí Iáomai meaning ‘to heal’ (cf. Colossians 4:14). This, in the same sense that we would distinguish the illicit trafficker or drug-peddler from a clinician, pharmacist or prescription chemist of our own time, draws a clear distinction between the Ιατρός Iatrós or healing physician and the φαρμακευς pharmakeús or illicit ‘drug magician’ of Scripture and the ancient world.
As such, in the Greek New Testament and the O.T. Septuagint the term φαρμακεία pharmakeia or magic with drugs, again where clearly distinguished from the Greek Ιάομαí Iáomai and the Latin medicina or healing medicine of the physicians art is always, almost exclusively, used of sorcery and the cognate substance abuses. In particular of the apocalyptic Babylon. Only in the LXX Apocrypha at Ecclesiasticus 38:1-4, where the physicians art is praised, and the highly metaphorical Ecclesiasticus 6:16 is the cognate φάρμακα phármaka used of a literal or metaphoric medicine. Compare also for example the Early Church Epistle of St. Ignatius to the Ephesians 1:20 and St. Ignatius to the Trallians v. 6. (c. 97-108 AD) for the use of the word φαρμακόν phármakon ‘a drug’ also in the highly metaphorical senses.
(i) Julius Preuss Biblical and Talmudic Medicine, Trans. Dr. Fred Rosner, Aronson Inc. 1978 (first German edition 1911) ISBN: 1-56821-134-1, also (ii) Hastings’ Dictionary of the Apostolic Church article ‘Sorcery’. (iii) The New Bible Dictionary article ‘Myrrh’.
For further extra-Biblical and other historical material related to the above notes and lexic.
FREE eBOOK Drug Abuse in Scripture.
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