Hi <<First Name>>,
It's a question that comes up in pastoral care, even today: Is tortured, aberrant behavior mental illness, or demonic possession? Could it be both?
In On Satan, Demons, and Psychiatry, Dr. Ragy Girgis seeks to change misconceptions that have historically pervaded Christianity by educating both laity and clergy about serious mental illness. It accomplishes this goal via an in-depth, exegetic examination of biblical accounts of what may have been untreated serious mental illness from the perspective of a psychiatrist and Christian. This in-depth examination demonstrates that:
- serious mental illness was likely present and relatively common in biblical times, and similar in phenomenology to how it manifests today, and
- that some instances of demon-possession and exorcisms as described in the Bible could, in a post-Enlightenment narrative, be better explained by occurring in the context of untreated mental illness, and that this could reveal a great deal of information about the biblical view of mental illness.
Some of these accounts are from the Old Testament and some from the New Testament. Each essay provides an in-depth examination of the biblical account from the perspective of a board-certified psychiatrist who is an expert in the field of serious mental illness and who is also a practicing Christian.