Ficino, Marsilio – Selected Letters - From a letter to Thomaso Valeri, Bishop of Florence
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A description of the experience
Ficino, Marsilio – Selected Letters
From a letter from Marsilio Ficino to Thomaso Valeri, Bishop of Florence.
I have read in Homer that one man of medicine is worth a host of other men, and justly so; for the sacred writings of the Hebrews teach that the power of healing is the gift of God, rather than an invention of men. Let us honour the man of medicine because the Almighty created him of necessity. Furthermore, the Gentiles regard the masters of this art as gods.
They bestowed divine honours upon Isis, Apollo, and Aesculapius, and also upon outstanding doctors. For they dedicated temples to Chiron, Machaon, Podalirius, Hippocrates, and Hermagoras. Hippocrates confirms this in his letter to the Abderites, when he says that medicine is a gift of the gods, that it is free, and that he has never accepted reward for practicing it.
Also in a letter to Philemona he says that medicine is related to prophecy, because our ancestor Apollo is the father of both arts; he foretells future illness as well as curing those already ill. Hence Pythagoras’s Empedocles, and Apollonius of Tyana are said to have cured diseases with chants rather than with herbs.
The Magi thought that the mind of the sick should first be cleansed with sacred teachings and prayers before they attended to the body. For clearly such an art as this has been received and is practiced through divine grace, because the soul is dependent on God, and the body on the soul. Do not the Hebrews consider that the Archangel Raphael practiced this art? Quite apart from other doctors, Christ Himself used to cure all the sick and ailing who were brought to Him, as though He were the doctor of mankind.