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Henry Maudsley on Swedenborg's Messianic Psychosis

  • John Johnson (a1)

Creativity, religiosity and madness have long been thought to be aetiologically interrelated.


Henry Maudsley's little known pathography of the 17th century Swedish philosopher and polymath, Emanuel Swedenborg, was examined.


Swedenborg developed a messianic psychosis in middle life, considered by Maudsley to be a monomania, possibly due to epilepsy. Many of Swedenborg's contemporaries thought of him, however, as a religious eccentric. Under criticism from Swedenborg's followers, Maudsley avoided further reference to Swedenborg, and the pathography was lost from view.


Renewed interest is deserved in the contentious issues of the nature of religiosity and its relationship to psychotic experience.

British Journal of Psychiatry (1994), 165, 690–691

Corresponding author
Dr J. Johnson, 135 Palatine Road, West Didsbury, Manchester M20 9YA
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Henry Maudsley on Swedenborg's Messianic Psychosis

  • John Johnson (a1)
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