A Broad Perspective on Mental Healing

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ii             MAGIC HEALING IN THE PRE-CHRISTIAN ERA           69
When sin was recognized as the root of suffering there was no need for complaints. The need was to find out the specific sin, change the attitude, confess to Yahweh and ask for His forgiveness. When this was granted, there followed the cure. This was also required from the community when there was pestilence or plague, since the calamity was due to the sin of the community. On the other hand, there are some indications in the Old Testament that this belief was not universally accepted. In the Book of Job, for example, the contrary is emphasized. Disease is ascribed to an inscrutable reason in God's providence. So also we find this view echoed in the Rabbinical writings. So great an authority as R. Meir disputed the theory of the connection between sin and suffering and held that Yahweh's dealing with men was believed to be unfathomable mystery.
When this is the case the patient's faithfulness to Yahweh may ensure a cure.
Whether the blindness mentioned above is intended metaphorically or literally is of slight importance. Madness, blindness and ' astonishment of heart ' from which patients are suffering as a consequence of indulgence in certain sins are familiar symptoms in mental hospitals to-day, and that warnings of them are given to the Hebrews is a sign of long and practical observation of the facts. That such difficulties are the direct result of moral attitudes has also been scientifically proved. It was a remarkable achievement when they ceased to be regarded as the results of devil possession. Satan became an article of religious belief among the Jews in the Persian period (538 to 333 B.C.), which dates from the ascendancy of Cyrus. His earliest appearance in the Old Testament, not as the principle of evil, but as a personal spiritual being with a proper title, is in the