par Leclercq, Valérie
Référence Meeting of the European Association for the History of Medicine and Health (7-10 September 2021: Leuven / on line)
Publication Non publié, 2021-07-08
Communication à un colloque
Résumé : This paper explores the views of catholic and liberal physicians who, in the mid-1870s, were engaged in two of the longest debates that ever took place in the nineteenth century at the Royale Academy of Medicine of Belgium. Both debates were concerned with issues of cerebral pathology and raised the question of religion and its impact on the human brain. While the respective positions of the Belgians physicians could be framed as a clear-cut antagonism – liberal physicians condemning religion as a cause of brain disease, their catholic counterparts proposing Catholicism as a possible means of mental prophylaxis – , this paper will look instead at the deeper undercurrent of ideological consensus on which both groups built their proto-neurological discourse. Part of this discourse took the form of mental hygiene recommendations aimed at moderating brain excitement. But behind these recommendations was the idea, shared by most physicians, that a sane modern society could only be one anchored in a rational form of Christianity and a social immobility that called to mind the dream of social harmony of the Catholic Church.