Religion is now the focus of more attention in psychiatry. This paper examines the life of the fifth century monk, Simeon the Stylite, from a contemporary psychiatric perspective. Such a retrospective examination presents difficulties with regard to the diagnosis of possible psychotic phenomena. A further examination presents difficulties with regard to the diagnosis of possible psychotic phenomena. A further problem is trying to distinguish between a religious and a psychiatric interpretation of particular experiences.
The authors outline the life of Simeon and some contemporary opinions. They agree with Kroll and deGanck that great caution is needed in the psychiatric interpretation and examination of an historical or religious life. This paper details some of these difficulties to help determine whether an understanding derived from modern psychiatry is relevant to a different era.
Leroi, Iracema M.D. and Meagher, Joseph B. A. M.D., M.R.C. (Psych) FRCPC
"Saint Simeon the Stylite: A Psychiatric Examination of the Life of a Fifth Century Monk,"
Jefferson Journal of Psychiatry:
2, Article 6.
Available at: http://jdc.jefferson.edu/jeffjpsychiatry/vol14/iss2/6