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Title: Mental symptoms in the Akkadian diagnostic handbook : a study of patterns in the description of depression, anxiety, and madness
Author: Al-Rashid, Moudhy
ISNI:       0000 0004 6498 5830
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2014
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This study is concerned with reconstructing patterns in the description of mental distress, disturbance, and disorder in diagnostic descriptions from medical texts recorded in Akkadian from the first millennium BCE. In the service of this aim, the study also offers a theoretical framework for the approach to mental disorder in Akkadian medical diagnostic texts. With a few exceptions, previous studies of mental disorder in the Akkadian medical tradition have relied in large part on the method of retrospective diagnosis, which, for reasons to be set out, can be a problematic methodology. This study offers an alternative framework that defines objects of inquiry that can be meaningfully applied to the Akkadian sources. This framework incorporates principles from the fields of the history, philosophy, and anthropology of medicine and takes into account the type of information recorded in the Akkadian medical diagnostic texts. Organised around three core symptoms of ašuštu "Depression", hīp libbi "Heartbreak", and ṭēmu šanû/nakāru "The mind alters/changes", this study investigates the occurrences of these terms and expressions in the Diagnostic Handbook to determine an initial repertoire of symptoms that recur with these. These recurring symptoms are taken to reflect patterns in the description of mental symptoms and are supplemented with medical therapeutic texts, especially those for ghost- and witchcraft-induced illness. Mental symptoms organised with the core symptoms of this study are primarily expressed through the paradigms of change and somatisation. The recurrence of these patterns reveals native paradigms in the expression of mental symptoms that can be explained with intercultural parallels and that begin to reveal the ways in which disorders with a strong cognitive and affective component were made comprehensible in a clinical context.
Supervisor: Dahl, Jacob L. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available