Vol 47, No 3 (2013)

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Christianity and epilepsy

Krzysztof Owczarek1, Joanna Jędrzejczak2
DOI: 10.5114/ninp.2013.35485
Neurol Neurochir Pol 2013;47(3):271-277.

Abstract

Abstract

Epileptic seizures have been known from time immemorial. Throughout the ages, however, ideas concerning the aetiology and treatment of epilepsy have changed considerably. Epilepsy is mentioned many times in the Pentateuch, where it is portrayed as a mysterious condition, whose symptoms, course and contingencies evade rational laws and explanations. In the Middle Ages, the accepted view which prevailed in social consciousness was that patients with epilepsy were possessed by Satan and other impure spirits. One common method of treatment of epileptic seizures was to submit the patient to cruel exorcisms. Patients were frequently injured in the process and some of them even died. Our understanding of epilepsy and its social consequences has improved considerably within the last century. The most significant progress as far as diagnosis and treatment of epilepsy is concerned took place in the last four decades of the twentieth century. Although we now know much more about epilepsy than we used to, this knowledge is still insufficiently popularized.

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Neurologia i Neurochirurgia Polska