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December 13, 1941

Martin Luthers Umwelt, Charakter und Psychose sowie die Bedeutung dieser Faktoren für seine Entwicklung und Lehre: Eine historischpsychiatrische Studie

JAMA. 1941;117(24):2108. doi:10.1001/jama.1941.02820500090039

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This is a pathography but as unlike the ordinary run of pathographic description as is a newspaper health column compared with a well controlled clinical experiment. After four hundred years Luther's life and character are still subjects of lively controversy, and an analysis of his work and personality in psychopathologic terms calls not only for erudition but in perhaps larger measure for courage and tact. The author, well known in the psychiatric field, possesses all three qualifications. It takes tact to discuss from the point of view of psychosis or psychoneurosis the inner conflicts and outer struggles of an idol worshiped by hundreds of millions and to maintain an objective approach, indulging neither in condemnation nor in justification. It takes both tact and courage to argue the delicate question whether or not excessive masturbation, intemperance or a possible syphilitic infection might have influenced Luther's life and teaching. By applying a

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