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Mental Disorders & Spiritual Healing: Teachings from the Early Christian East Paperback – July 1, 2005

4.7 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

<div>Dr. Rama Coomaraswamy medical school graduate of Harvard University. After retiring from medicine, he was ordained at St. Thomas Aquinas Seminary, and now attempts to reconcile religion with psychiatry.<br></div> --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 180 pages
  • Publisher: Angelico Press / Sophia Perennis; English ed. edition (July 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 159731045X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1597310451
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.4 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #952,915 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Edward M. Freeman on June 20, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This 2005 translation of 'Therapeutique des maladies mentales' (1992, Les Editions du Cerf) offers access to the well-heeled research of the author. Jean-Claude Larchet has built a steady foundation of criticism concerning so-called scientific approaches to treat mental and spiritual diseases. His thesis advances the view that ancient Fathers of the Church offer insights to treating mental and spiritual maladies, which contemporary theories of psychiatry either ignore or rebuff. Moreover, while acknowledging the gaps in source material from the Fathers, he identifies the explanatory gaps in psychiatric theories and treatment modalities all the same.

Theological anthropology, derived from the Fathers, constitutes the general theme of the first chapter. The author devotes a chapter to each grouped domain of causes for mental illness according to the Fathers: a) insanity due to somatic origins, b) insanity due to demonic origin, and c) insanity of spiritual origin. Of particular note are 24 pages devoted to acedia -- its nosology, and treatment of sadness and acedia.

The capstone of the text is a study of the fool for Christ. The goal of life in Christ is not only to be free of mental illness, but also to achieve harmony among body, mind, and spirit. Such harmony is represented by the fool for Christ, who is motivated by humility, detachment from the world, and charity.

I offer an enthusiastic recommendation to consider this text as essential reading for spiritual formation in Christ, comprehensive treatment of sadness and acedia, and reappraisal of conventional medical modalities for treatment of mental illnesses. The text appeals to scholars and many others who share interests in etiology and management of mental illnesses. There are sufficient references in the bibliography to enhance additional exploration in themes addressed by the text.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Thank God for this book. For a long time I have been looking for a book to give me insight into how the church has perceived mental illness. This was a great summary of how the church fathers in the Eastern Christianity saw mental illness and how they dealt with it. Very helpful!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Jean-Claude Larchet writes the basic facts about ancient Eastern Christian views on mental illness in 171 pages. His style of writing or better yet his translation of by Rama Coomaraswamy & G. John Champoux makes a fast easy read for the general public while expressing the basics for the professional scholar. The chapter headings are as follows:

1. Anthropological Background: The Human Composite
2. Insanity Due To Somatic Problems
3. Insanity Of Demonic Origin
4. Insanity Of Spiritual Origin
5. A Most Singular Kind Of Folly - The Fool For Christ

Each chapter goes through the fast basics with defining the meanings, forms & causes, & treatment to each type of cause. The Fool for Christ might turn a couple of modern heads but is a historical practice of some Saints to confound the wise of the world.

A good read & highly recommend
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