In Galatians 5:20, among the deeds of the flesh, Paul lists "pharmakeia," which, as i understand, is commonly translated as sorcery or witchcraft, referring to the use or administering of drugs or poisons or spells or connection to spirits, sometimes in connection with idolatry, that may possibly lead to deceptions or enticements of the mind or body. I have also read that this is the Greek word for medicines or drugs that inhibit or alter a person's perception, personality, or behavior, aka, mind altering substances. First off, do I understand Paul's view and usage of this word correctly in this text?
Secondly, if I do, what are some examples of Paul's view of drug use in his world that would adequately describe what is pharmakiea, pharmakiea-like, and deemed as fleshly by Paul, in the spirit of the lists of Galatians 5? In his day, does Paul's view of pharmakeia and the flesh have any bearing on drug use in general and, specifically, on mind-altering drugs? Is it speaking to drug use in the general population or only those being practiced upon by certain special individuals, or, also on those dabbling in practice and use?
Lastly, do your examples include whether Paul's usage of pharmakeia had any impact on the healers' community of his day? Did it include commenting on or regulating their use of drugs? Or is what they did with drugs totally different. I understand that in 1 Timothy 5:23, Paul writes to Timothy and says, "No longer drink water exclusively, but use a "little" wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent ailments." I've heard that this is sometimes cited as affirming biblicaly that "proper" use of medicinal treatments of potent foods or drug substances was accepted as proper and fitting in Paul's day. If this is true and is so, this type of drug use appears to refer to a different class of drug use than what Paul was saying pharmakeia was speaking against. If drugs and potent foods that are being used "appropriately" for healing, health, and well-being are taken off of the table for being examples of pharmakeia as a class of drug use independent of pharmakeia, again, what drug uses would exemplify the type of use this word is representing to Paul in his day? If this logic doesn't hold and healing uses of drugs are not totally taken off of the table by this example, my question persists, what types of examples of drug use was Paul referring to when he used the word pharmakeia/sorcery in his day and do they include comments on or regulations of healers' uses of drugs at that time?
**note regarding Paul's appropriate medicinal use of wine--Paul's use of wine is significant to me. used improperly, it could lead to enticements and deceptions of the mind and body. but, under most circumstances, it does not seem that a "little wine" would affect the proper function of the mind and body and consciousness in a way that blinds, dulls, deceives, entices, or injures their ideal states, and it doesn't seem that it would normally alter proper service and worship to God. it seems a comparison could be made with other mind-altering drugs
see L&N 53.100:
φαρμακεία: “the use of magic, often involving drugs and the casting of spells upon people – ‘to practice magic, to cast spells upon, to engage in sorcery, magic, sorcery.’
φαρμᾰκ-άω, suffer from the effect of drugs or charms, D.46.16, Thphr.Fr.105, Plu.2.1016e, etc. II. require a remedy, Luc.Lex. 4.
φαρμᾰκ-είᾱ, ἡ, use of drugs, esp. of purgatives, Hp.Aph.1.24, 2.36 (both pl.), PCair.Zen.18.5 (iii B. C.), Gal.15.447, etc.; αἱ ἄνω φ., i. e. emetics, Arist.Pr.962a3; of abortifacients, Sor.1.59: generally, the use of any kind of drugs, potions, or spells, Pl.Lg.933b: pl., Id.Prt. 354a, Ti.89b, Men.535.9. 2. poisoning or witchcraft, D.40 57, Plb.6.13.4, POxy.486.21 (ii A. D.); αἱ περὶ τὰς φαρμακείας, = αἱ φαρμακίδες, Arist.HA572a22. II. metaph., remedy, παιδιὰς προσάγειν φαρμακείας χάριν Id.Pol.1337b41.
φαρμακεία (WH κια, so T (except in Galatians 5:20; cf. the Proleg., p. 88); see Iota), φαρμακείας, ἡ (φαρμακεύω); a. the use or the administering of drugs (Xenophon, mem. 4, 2, 17). b. poisoning (Plato, Polybius, others): Revelation 9:21 (here WH text Tr marginal reading φαρμακῶν; many interpretations refer the passage to the next entry). c. sorcery, magical arts, often found in connection with idolatry and fostered by it: Galatians 5:20 (where see Lightfoot) (Wis. 12:4 Wis. 18:13; for כְּשָׁפִים, Isaiah 47:9; for לָטִים, Exodus 7:22; Exodus 8:18; for לְהָטִים, Exodus 7:11); tropically, of the deceptions and seductions of idolatry, Revelation 18:23.