Jesus ‘mentally ill suffered from paranoia’ Bible Not Historic Study
I chanced upon this.
I thought about skipping it.
But the names associated with it included A. Schweitzer.
That the Bible was concocted is a fact, that it was compiled by Emperor Constantine to suit his political ambition is true.
As to Christ, I doubt he existed,
Please read my post on this.
Even those who deny that Jesus existed – and I am one of them – must agree that whether the gospels are true or not they don’t give us any confidence in the sanity of Jesus Christ. Even if Jesus didn’t exist the gospels could have been based on stories about eccentrics and fairly obscure prophets of the time who did exist.
If we can prove that the Jesus Christ in them was mad then that is all we need to destroy Christianity. It would mean that the apostles he chose and the Church he founded were all very silly people indeed. It would mean that we have to be on guard against any other religious movement because if Christianity was founded on the ravings of a madman and was such a success any other religion could have been the same.
We can be sure that there is no evidence for Jesus’ sanity and plenty of evidence against it.
You will see plenty of Christian books written in defence of the faith that deny that Jesus was mentally ill and claim that he was the sanest person that ever lived.
It is possible that Jesus was a manic-depressive. He said he was the light of the world (John 9:5) and the only way to God (John 14:6) and the unique Son of God (John 17). That is the sign of severe mania. He was unnaturally full of himself. Even if it were true, we would expect him to let others say he was this great being instead of him trying to convince him. If he really had the power to influence people through using the Holy Spirit he did not need to make such declarations.”
The following information is worth thinking about as it throws quite a few questions about Bible and Jesus.
‘This study was published in Dutch as: Jezus de Messias. Was het christendom een vergissing ? Antwerpen, EPO, and as:Toen God sliep schreef de mens de Bijbel. De bijbel belicht door een psycholoog. Antwerpen, Facet.
This psychopathological study of the Gospel resulted in a revolutionary view on the personality of Jesus and his life, the sources of his spirituality and ideas. The hypothesis of paraphreny was able to explain a number of otherwise unexplained events. Did Jesus survive the crucifixion ? Is the Apocalypse the first Christian document, earlier than the letters of Paul ? Was the resurrection a myth? These questions find an answer in this study.
About 1910 three competent psychiatrists: Ch. Binet-Sangle, G.L.De Loosten (G. Lomer) and W. Hirsch concluded after thorough examination of the texts, that Jesus was mentally ill and suffered from paranoia. They were criticised by A. Schweitzer who alleged that from an historical point of view most texts were dubious or certainly not historic, e.g. the quotations from the Gospel of St. John, and from a medical point of view that the alleged symptoms of paranoia or another mental disease were misunderstood.
Three objections seemed essential: first: there is no certainty about the historical truth of the texts, secondly: what seems to us like a symptom was possibly a normal trait, a cultural feature in that civilisation, thirdly: there are not enough sure elements in order to found on them a safe judgment.
If witnesses describe in a text correctly (according to modern psychopathology) a number of elements (symptoms) and if these symptoms are coherent and can be identified with a known syndrome, while these witnesses ignored completely psychopathology and moreover intended to prove a very different interpretation of the facts (a faulty one), there can be no more doubt about the authenticity of the described facts.
The decision consequently about the historicity of the facts will no more depend upon mere philological criteria, but also upon psychopathological ones. Schweitzer supposes incorrectly, that the philological criteria are the only ones that can decide about historicity; in fact: the psychopathological control is more efficient and safe. So the first objection of Schweitzer is eliminated.
The second objection of Schweitzer, that symptoms may be misunderstood cultural features, is at least superficial. It is very clear that the true pathological nature of the observed symptoms is culture-independent, although they may be coloured by the cultural background. Unadapted and strange behaviour as it is seen by extraneous observers, is on account of this fact itself matched against the own cultural background of the observers, but if this background is identical with the background of the subject no cultural interference exists any more. Therefore it is important to study the reaction of the own cultural milieu of the subject…
In the Gospel of Mark a child is described, possessed by the devil. The features, found in the text, are all coherent with the syndrome of epilepsy and especially with an infantile type: perinatal infection of the ear with inflammatory complications, causing thrombo-phlebitis in the brain with the consequence of epileptic seizures and deaf-muteness. In the text of Mark all symptoms are precisely described: the child is mute, falls in the water and the fire (loss of conscience), utters a cry and is agitated, has foam on his mouth, becomes like dead and after a while is “cured”.
2000 years ago nobody was aware of the true nature of epilepsy and the typical features in young children. (Hippocrates described the epilepsy as a disease, but we can consider that this was largely ignored in Judaea.)
In the Bible numerous texts mention the hearing of voices, especially the voice of God. Current exegesis (Kittel, Theologisches Woerterbuch des Neuen Testaments, s.v. “Phone”) interbreeds these texts as metaphorical: hearing the voice of God is simply the expression for a vocation by God. However in psychopathology “hear a voice” is a current expression for an auditive (sensory) hallucination. Often the voice heard is identified as the voice of God. So the question is, if the voices heard by Jesus ( Baptism, desert, Thabor) were hallucinatory ones as even Schweitzer suggests.
The narrative of the baptism of Jesus shows a text-evolution. In the Gospel: as Mark says that Jesus saw the Heaven opened, Matthew says that the heaven opened and that Jesus saw a bird… Luke lays a heavy accent on the physical appearance of a dove and eliminates any allusion to a vision, John adds the testimony of John the Baptist, the latter saw the ghost… The text-evolution seems to intend to change a subjective vision into an objective happening. Of course Mark has always the most original version: Jesus saw the heaven opened, he saw a bird, he heard a voice. This is the evidence, if one considers the complete narrative of Jesus baptism and his stay in the desert. Psychopathological investigation discovers in Mark, Luke and Matthew, regardless of the fact that especially Luke adapted the original version, a number of well-known symptoms of an hallucinatory state: hearing the voices of God and the devil, seeing wild beasts (zoopsie), having the impression to fly (vestibular hallucination), having visions of the whole world, suffering from anorexia (fasting). In that light the vision of the Baptism also is certainly another manifestation of this hallucinatory state: a well-localised (heavenly) vision, seeing a light (opening of heaven) , of a bird, the hearing of a voice, communicating a grandiose genetic message (you are my beloved son), a voice speaking in the second person as hallucinatory voices often do.
Date Contradcition about the date of birth of Jesus
It is important to see the essential difference between the Gospel of Infancy and the baptism-Thabor episode. Most biblical students see the Gospel of Infancy as a mythical corpus in the New Testament and they mention numerous reasons. First there are the chronological contradictory data. According to Matthew Jesus should be born (between 6 and 4 B.C.) during the reign of the great Herod, who died in 4 B.C.; the census which according to Luke, obliged the parents to travel to Bethlehem, was executed by Quirinius, who according to the precise indications of Flavius Josephus, the Jewish historian, became procurator of Syria in 7 A.D.., i.e. 11 to 12 years later. Furthermore the beginning of Jesus public life, when he was about thirty years, is situated by Luke (3,1) in the 15th year of the reign of Tiberius (1 October 27-30 September 28). According to that indication Jesus should be born in 4-3 B.C . The historians never solved these difficulties.
Secondly: the divergence between Matthew and Luke is striking. For Luke an angel appears to Mary and to Elizabeth. For Matthew each event is predicted in the Old Testament; for Luke the quotations of the O.T. are replaced by occasional prophecies by Hannah and Simeon. For Matthew a star appears, magicians come, there is a flight to Egypt and a killing of innocents by the great Herod. For Luke there are only shepherds, angels and music, the circumcision in the Temple and a simple return to Nazareth. He does not mention Egypt, or the Innocents. In the Protevangelium Jacobi another series of divergent elements can be found. Herod kills Zechariah, while John is sought for; there is no star, no magicians, no prophecies, only the angels and their message to Mary and to Elizabeth.
Thirdly: the only elements, which all witnesses have in common are: 1° the exceptional pregnancy of Mary, 2° the hesitation of Joseph, 3° the birth of Jesus, 4° the exceptional sphere of wonders. Each witness surrounds these historical events with a scenery of marvellous elements of his own…
As has been said, if all symptoms coherently are in accordance with a well-known syndrome, there can be no more doubt about the historical truth of the described facts because it was impossible in Hebrew antiquity to describe accurately and correctly what twenty centuries later became known as a mental disease without having observed it. The fact that can be shown is that in the Gospel an image is found of Jesus, which is entirely coherent with the syndrome of paraphrenia, and that it is quite sure that this was not the intention of the authors of the Gospel. Nothing specifically divine or even superior is noted. Paraphrenia has to be understood as a mental disease sometimes also classified in the category of paranoia and opposed to schizophrenia. In opposition to the schizophrenic the paraphrenic remains adapted to his milieu, has a coherent thinking and a well-organised behaviour. Generally hallucinations are rare, but initiate a delusional state, often with a grandiose genetic theme. The paraphrenic is very sensitive to the opposition against his ideas: he is often full of resentment and hate. This is exactly the image the Gospel has painted of Jesus. If miracles are the only argument for the supposed divinity of Jesus, one must take into account that a number of these are certainly pseudo-miracles (cf. the epileptic child ‘(Mc. 9) or the possessed of Gerasa (Mc. 5)).