A Broad Perspective on Mental Healing

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Those whom he possessed corporally, as mad people, he has permission from God to vex and agitate ; but he had no power over their soulsy 245 (p. 141 ff.).
During the long interval between St. Peter and Martin Luther the great work of Hippocrates and his successors of the Alexandrine and Graeco-Roman schools seemed almost to pass into oblivion and there was a retrogression into the primitive stage. The majority of mental disorders had ceased to be regarded as suitable subjects for clinical treatment and research, but were believed to be afflictions of divine or demoniacal origin, susceptible of treatment by incantations, superstitions, amulets and astrological complexities. The methods used were, in fact, nothing but the debased progeny of human pathology. This obscurantism first began to lose its hold towards the end of the sixteenth century, when it was attacked by a number of men who were far in advance of their age. From the religious side it was challenged by the great Vincent de Paul ; from the point of view of physical science by Galileo and Copernicus ; from that of medicine by Agrippa and Wierus. It was vigorously criticized by laymen such as Reginald Scot and Henry Harvard ; but, more important still, by the scientific medical men, Michael Servetus and by Vesalius of Brussels, who finally brought to a close the period of stagnation in the study of anatomy, during which medicine had been unable to make any progress. It is to these men and their supporters that the modern world owes one of its greatest debts ; it was they and their like who prepared the ground for the renaissance of medicine and surgery and, later on, for psychiatry, though this was still in the remote distance. The opinion began to prevail in scientific circles that mental disorders were due entirely to natural causes and the gradual adoption of this view both by the Roman and the