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WilliamWDelaney
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PostPosted: Wed May 11, 2011 3:22 pm    Post subject: St. Paul: the epilepsy theory Reply with quote

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1427916/St-Paul-converted-by-epileptic-fit-suggests-BBC.html

Also, epilepsy of the temporal lobe has an associated syndrome called "Geschwind Syndrome," a symptom of which is altered sexuality, usually hyposexuality. To me, this would explain Paul's attitudes regarding sexuality. Hypergraphia would be another symptom of Geschwind Syndrome.

Although I would expect evidence to be at least as sketchy as that supporting claims of Mozart being "autistic," I believe the subject is worth exploring in some detail.

Seizures of the temporal lobe have often caused symptoms similar to those reported by those claiming to have had "religious experiences."
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PostPosted: Wed May 11, 2011 3:36 pm    Post subject: Re: St. Paul: the epilepsy theory Reply with quote

WilliamWDelaney wrote:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1427916/St-Paul-converted-by-epileptic-fit-suggests-BBC.html

Also, epilepsy of the temporal lobe has an associated syndrome called "Geschwind Syndrome," a symptom of which is altered sexuality, usually hyposexuality. To me, this would explain Paul's attitudes regarding sexuality. Hypergraphia would be another symptom of Geschwind Syndrome.

Although I would expect evidence to be at least as sketchy as that supporting claims of Mozart being "autistic," I believe the subject is worth exploring in some detail.

Seizures of the temporal lobe have often caused symptoms similar to those reported by those claiming to have had "religious experiences."


the frontal lobe thing is very interesting
but using quick application of Occam's razor gives us the Paul is a fraud theory.
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PostPosted: Wed May 11, 2011 3:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Um, evidence, please? Are claims that Paul had epilepsy, a named disorder, or was otherwise a fraud falsifiable?
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PostPosted: Wed May 11, 2011 4:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

AngelRho wrote:
Um, evidence, please? Are claims that Paul had epilepsy, a named disorder, or was otherwise a fraud falsifiable?


the burden is on the side of thinking Paul had a supernatural experience.
One someone says they saw a ghost it is up to them to show they are
not lying or insane. I am not honor bound to believe them.
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PostPosted: Wed May 11, 2011 4:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Paul certainly had motive
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PostPosted: Wed May 11, 2011 4:52 pm    Post subject: Re: St. Paul: the epilepsy theory Reply with quote

JakobVirgil wrote:
the frontal lobe thing is very interesting
but using quick application of Occam's razor gives us the Paul is a fraud theory.
An application of occam's razor would give us the the theory that Paul actually had exactly the experiences he claimed he had.

The theory that he was a fraud implies an unfounded assumption that he invented these experiences out of whole cloth, and then we are left speculating as to why he would do so. The theory that he actually believed what he was saying is simpler. It doesn't on its own imply any explanation as to why. It just implies the simple assumption that Paul believed what he was saying on some level.

The epilepsy theory is only one of many possibilities, but it would carry a certain degree of weight if Paul's description of his experiences fit in neatly with the diagnostic criteria for a certain type of epilepsy.

I simply felt that it was interesting enough to merit discussion.
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PostPosted: Wed May 11, 2011 4:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

JakobVirgil wrote:
AngelRho wrote:
Um, evidence, please? Are claims that Paul had epilepsy, a named disorder, or was otherwise a fraud falsifiable?


the burden is on the side of thinking Paul had a supernatural experience.

It most certainly is not--not in THIS thread. WilliamWDelaney suggested epilepsy was the cause, as well as possible Geschwind Syndrome. You claim Paul is a fraud, or at least that's how I read you. Correct me if I misunderstand, of course. Do you have falsifiable evidence to support your claim or don't you?
JakobVirgil wrote:
One someone says they saw a ghost it is up to them to show they are
not lying or insane. I am not honor bound to believe them.

I agree. But that is not what is being said here.
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PostPosted: Wed May 11, 2011 4:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

JakobVirgil wrote:
AngelRho wrote:
Um, evidence, please? Are claims that Paul had epilepsy, a named disorder, or was otherwise a fraud falsifiable?


the burden is on the side of thinking Paul had a supernatural experience.
One someone says they saw a ghost it is up to them to show they are
not lying or insane. I am not honor bound to believe them.


The question is, was Paul asking you or me to believe him? My name was not on the distribution list of any of his letters.

If I say there are orioles nesting in our yard [skittish but lovely, they come back every year] do I need to provide evidence I am not lying or insane? Just asking so I can tpe defensively.

Where on WP are we supposed to post our certificates of honesty and sanity?

Intriguing that mistaken or under chemical influence are not options.

AND - trying to cover the bases and baser parts - if one of us does NOT see something do we need to say that our failure to see is not lying or insane?

I had to go and ask about rules of evidence!
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PostPosted: Wed May 11, 2011 5:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

JakobVirgil wrote:
AngelRho wrote:
Um, evidence, please? Are claims that Paul had epilepsy, a named disorder, or was otherwise a fraud falsifiable?


the burden is on the side of thinking Paul had a supernatural experience.
One someone says they saw a ghost it is up to them to show they are
not lying or insane. I am not honor bound to believe them.


There are no "supernatural experiences". All events and processes are physical effects of physical causes. To say something is supernatural is a mis-identification.

ruveyn
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PostPosted: Wed May 11, 2011 5:23 pm    Post subject: Re: St. Paul: the epilepsy theory Reply with quote

WilliamWDelaney wrote:
JakobVirgil wrote:
the frontal lobe thing is very interesting
but using quick application of Occam's razor gives us the Paul is a fraud theory.
An application of occam's razor would give us the the theory that Paul actually had exactly the experiences he claimed he had.

The theory that he was a fraud implies an unfounded assumption that he invented these experiences out of whole cloth, and then we are left speculating as to why he would do so. The theory that he actually believed what he was saying is simpler. It doesn't on its own imply any explanation as to why. It just implies the simple assumption that Paul believed what he was saying on some level.

The epilepsy theory is only one of many possibilities, but it would carry a certain degree of weight if Paul's description of his experiences fit in neatly with the diagnostic criteria for a certain type of epilepsy.

I simply felt that it was interesting enough to merit discussion.

Absolutely. Thanks for that on the infamous razor--I was just thinking the same thing but was hoping someone else would bring it up. I do need to actually read the article you posted, but I strongly suspect that the theory, which really isn't more than a hypothesis, suffers for lack of evidence--as will any ancient discussion of a topic when looking for evidence external to itself. I personally do not have a problem reviewing the Bible as a documented accounting of events, and even in modern times those kinds of things don't leave evidence of themselves. If we're talking science, you don't really "know" a certain experiment produced certain results unless you were the one performing the experiment--but we do trust peer-reviewed journal articles that compile the data in question. So it isn't unreasonable to believe words from the past. It's a matter of choosing whether you want to believe that evidence or reject it.

If you can accept New Testament accounts as reliable, i.e. a record of what people witnessed, then you MIGHT have falsifiable evidence that Paul was at least momentarily insane or at worst a fraud. But you really need the man himself if you want a "diagnosis." There's also the question of whether God can use anatomical anomalies to convey the message He's trying to send. Paul himself COULD have said, "No, wait--that's ridiculous. I don't know what happened to me, but it wasn't God." People even back in those days recognized the difference between, say, demon possession and outright dementia, even if they lacked the means to explain mental illness. What the Bible seems to relate about Paul's experience and his subsequent writings suggests that he spent a lot of time in the care of more mature and experienced Christians who knew enough to confirm that Paul was clearly shaken by what happened but was otherwise ok and could be trusted in spite of his past. Refuting experiences that had been confirmed by his contemporaries by trying to apply modern diagnoses without any external evidence is going to run into some ad hoc problems.
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PostPosted: Wed May 11, 2011 5:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Philologos wrote:
I had to go and ask about rules of evidence!

It took me a while to get it, too, but it's useful. The burden of proof is ALWAYS on the one making the claim. Paul is not here to make the claim. But someone else here is making claims about Paul. It is up to that person to provide evidence that such really happened. I have yet to see the evidence, but the thread is young!
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WilliamWDelaney
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PostPosted: Wed May 11, 2011 5:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

AngelRho wrote:
JakobVirgil wrote:
AngelRho wrote:
Um, evidence, please? Are claims that Paul had epilepsy, a named disorder, or was otherwise a fraud falsifiable?


the burden is on the side of thinking Paul had a supernatural experience.

It most certainly is not--not in THIS thread. WilliamWDelaney suggested epilepsy was the cause, as well as possible Geschwind Syndrome. You claim Paul is a fraud, or at least that's how I read you. Correct me if I misunderstand, of course. Do you have falsifiable evidence to support your claim or don't you?
I suggested that it was a possible theory, and I feel it merits discussion.

Acts 9 wrote:
Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples. He went to the high priest 2 and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any there who belonged to the Way, whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem. 3 As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. 4 He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”
This flash of light is common to a migraine or seizure aura, and sometimes a propensity for it runs in families.


http://www.neurology.org/content/68/23/1995.short

Furthermore, a seizure aura is often associated with intense visual hallucinations.

http://brain.oxfordjournals.org/content/123/2/244.short

Also, auditory hallucinations are common as part of seizure events, as Didi here would testify.

https://www.epilepsy.com/node/983566

Another thing that I would like to point to is Paul's attitudes on sexuality.

Corinthians 7 wrote:
Now for the matters you wrote about: “It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman.” 2 But since sexual immorality is occurring, each man should have sexual relations with his own wife, and each woman with her own husband. 3 The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. 4 The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife. 5 Do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. 6 I say this as a concession, not as a command. 7 I wish that all of you were as I am. But each of you has your own gift from God; one has this gift, another has that.

8 Now to the unmarried[a] and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I do. 9 But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.

10 To the married I give this command (not I, but the Lord): A wife must not separate from her husband. 11 But if she does, she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband. And a husband must not divorce his wife.


Now, although there are many possible explanations for Paul's attitudes on sexuality, it is relevant to this thinking exercise that hyposexuality is a common symptom of epilepsy. It is a part of Geschwind Syndrome, which is a symptomatic syndrome associated with certain kinds of epilepsy.

http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0004-282X2001000100006

Hyposexuality wouldn't be the only symptom of Geschwind Syndrome observed in Paul's behavior, though! He also tended to carry on talking for abnormally long periods!

Acts 20:7-12 wrote:
7 On the first day of the week we came together to break bread. Paul spoke to the people and, because he intended to leave the next day, kept on talking until midnight. 8 There were many lamps in the upstairs room where we were meeting. 9 Seated in a window was a young man named Eutychus, who was sinking into a deep sleep as Paul talked on and on. When he was sound asleep, he fell to the ground from the third story and was picked up dead. 10 Paul went down, threw himself on the young man and put his arms around him. “Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “He’s alive!” 11 Then he went upstairs again and broke bread and ate. After talking until daylight, he left. 12 The people took the young man home alive and were greatly comforted.


Pedantism is one of many interictal symptoms of epilepsy, as written here:

http://justopenyoureyes-insaneblogger.blogspot.com/2010/09/temporal-lobe-epilepsy.html

And those affected with TLE might also exhibit heightened interpersonal viscosity, not associated with elevated social cohesion but due to "interictal language disturbances."

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC488981/

Of course, this isn't intended to dismiss other possible explanations for Paul's behavior but merely to propose one of many possible theories as to why he behaved in the way that he did. It's not even necessary to dismiss the possibility that he was both epileptic and actually did have a supernatural revelation, at least not anymore so than without this line of speculation. Again, this is supposed to be a speculative, exploratory discussion.

However, Paul the Apostle wouldn't be the first religious leader to have suffered from an epileptic condition. In fact, indigenous people from arctic climates, particularly observers of Tengriism, choose their religious leaders in this way routinely:

http://www.nakquda.com/essays/religion/shamanisticsickness/shamanisticsickness.pdf

I approve.
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PostPosted: Wed May 11, 2011 6:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ruveyn wrote:
There are no "supernatural experiences". All events and processes are physical effects of physical causes. To say something is supernatural is a mis-identification.

If that is so, then what explanation might there be for a series of "presence of thought" (my term, and actually a bit of a misnomer) experiences I once had (over the course of a week) that resulted in my "being given" (my claim) some specific information I had been consciously seeking and that absolutely could not have come from within my own mind?

Note: None of the above has anything to do with my recovery experience we are all tired of rehashing.
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PostPosted: Wed May 11, 2011 6:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

WilliamWDelaney wrote:
AngelRho wrote:
JakobVirgil wrote:
AngelRho wrote:
Um, evidence, please? Are claims that Paul had epilepsy, a named disorder, or was otherwise a fraud falsifiable?


the burden is on the side of thinking Paul had a supernatural experience.

It most certainly is not--not in THIS thread. WilliamWDelaney suggested epilepsy was the cause, as well as possible Geschwind Syndrome. You claim Paul is a fraud, or at least that's how I read you. Correct me if I misunderstand, of course. Do you have falsifiable evidence to support your claim or don't you?
I suggested that it was a possible theory, and I feel it merits discussion.

Acts 9 wrote:
Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples. He went to the high priest 2 and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any there who belonged to the Way, whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem. 3 As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. 4 He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”
This flash of light is common to a migraine or seizure aura, and sometimes a propensity for it runs in families.


http://www.neurology.org/content/68/23/1995.short

Furthermore, a seizure aura is often associated with intense visual hallucinations.

http://brain.oxfordjournals.org/content/123/2/244.short

Also, auditory hallucinations are common as part of seizure events, as Didi here would testify.

https://www.epilepsy.com/node/983566

Another thing that I would like to point to is Paul's attitudes on sexuality.

Corinthians 7 wrote:
Now for the matters you wrote about: “It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman.” 2 But since sexual immorality is occurring, each man should have sexual relations with his own wife, and each woman with her own husband. 3 The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. 4 The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife. 5 Do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. 6 I say this as a concession, not as a command. 7 I wish that all of you were as I am. But each of you has your own gift from God; one has this gift, another has that.

8 Now to the unmarried[a] and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I do. 9 But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.

10 To the married I give this command (not I, but the Lord): A wife must not separate from her husband. 11 But if she does, she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband. And a husband must not divorce his wife.


Now, although there are many possible explanations for Paul's attitudes on sexuality, it is relevant to this thinking exercise that hyposexuality is a common symptom of epilepsy. It is a part of Geschwind Syndrome, which is a symptomatic syndrome associated with certain kinds of epilepsy.

http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0004-282X2001000100006

Hyposexuality wouldn't be the only symptom of Geschwind Syndrome observed in Paul's behavior, though! He also tended to carry on talking for abnormally long periods!

Acts 20:7-12 wrote:
7 On the first day of the week we came together to break bread. Paul spoke to the people and, because he intended to leave the next day, kept on talking until midnight. 8 There were many lamps in the upstairs room where we were meeting. 9 Seated in a window was a young man named Eutychus, who was sinking into a deep sleep as Paul talked on and on. When he was sound asleep, he fell to the ground from the third story and was picked up dead. 10 Paul went down, threw himself on the young man and put his arms around him. “Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “He’s alive!” 11 Then he went upstairs again and broke bread and ate. After talking until daylight, he left. 12 The people took the young man home alive and were greatly comforted.


Pedantism is one of many interictal symptoms of epilepsy, as written here:

http://justopenyoureyes-insaneblogger.blogspot.com/2010/09/temporal-lobe-epilepsy.html

And those affected with TLE might also exhibit heightened interpersonal viscosity, not associated with elevated social cohesion but due to "interictal language disturbances."

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC488981/

Of course, this isn't intended to dismiss other possible explanations for Paul's behavior but merely to propose one of many possible theories as to why he behaved in the way that he did. It's not even necessary to dismiss the possibility that he was both epileptic and actually did have a supernatural revelation, at least not anymore so than without this line of speculation. Again, this is supposed to be a speculative, exploratory discussion.

However, Paul the Apostle wouldn't be the first religious leader to have suffered from an epileptic condition. In fact, indigenous people from arctic climates, particularly observers of Tengriism, choose their religious leaders in this way routinely:

http://www.nakquda.com/essays/religion/shamanisticsickness/shamanisticsickness.pdf

I approve.


I agree it could be an interesting conversation. Frontal lobe epilepsy is a very interesting Idea.
I apologize for making it seem I was against discussion.
mental illness is a very important religious wellspring.
the Havasupai value schizophrenia or rather what western culture calls schizophrenia.
I still think Paul was lying but have enough interest in the bastard for a discussion.
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We must not buy their fruits:
Who knows upon what soil they fed
Their hungry thirsty roots?”

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WilliamWDelaney
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PostPosted: Wed May 11, 2011 6:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

JakobVirgil wrote:
WilliamWDelaney wrote:
AngelRho wrote:
JakobVirgil wrote:
AngelRho wrote:
Um, evidence, please? Are claims that Paul had epilepsy, a named disorder, or was otherwise a fraud falsifiable?


the burden is on the side of thinking Paul had a supernatural experience.

It most certainly is not--not in THIS thread. WilliamWDelaney suggested epilepsy was the cause, as well as possible Geschwind Syndrome. You claim Paul is a fraud, or at least that's how I read you. Correct me if I misunderstand, of course. Do you have falsifiable evidence to support your claim or don't you?
I suggested that it was a possible theory, and I feel it merits discussion.

Acts 9 wrote:
Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples. He went to the high priest 2 and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any there who belonged to the Way, whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem. 3 As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. 4 He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”
This flash of light is common to a migraine or seizure aura, and sometimes a propensity for it runs in families.


http://www.neurology.org/content/68/23/1995.short

Furthermore, a seizure aura is often associated with intense visual hallucinations.

http://brain.oxfordjournals.org/content/123/2/244.short

Also, auditory hallucinations are common as part of seizure events, as Didi here would testify.

https://www.epilepsy.com/node/983566

Another thing that I would like to point to is Paul's attitudes on sexuality.

Corinthians 7 wrote:
Now for the matters you wrote about: “It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman.” 2 But since sexual immorality is occurring, each man should have sexual relations with his own wife, and each woman with her own husband. 3 The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. 4 The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife. 5 Do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. 6 I say this as a concession, not as a command. 7 I wish that all of you were as I am. But each of you has your own gift from God; one has this gift, another has that.

8 Now to the unmarried[a] and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I do. 9 But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.

10 To the married I give this command (not I, but the Lord): A wife must not separate from her husband. 11 But if she does, she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband. And a husband must not divorce his wife.


Now, although there are many possible explanations for Paul's attitudes on sexuality, it is relevant to this thinking exercise that hyposexuality is a common symptom of epilepsy. It is a part of Geschwind Syndrome, which is a symptomatic syndrome associated with certain kinds of epilepsy.

http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0004-282X2001000100006

Hyposexuality wouldn't be the only symptom of Geschwind Syndrome observed in Paul's behavior, though! He also tended to carry on talking for abnormally long periods!

Acts 20:7-12 wrote:
7 On the first day of the week we came together to break bread. Paul spoke to the people and, because he intended to leave the next day, kept on talking until midnight. 8 There were many lamps in the upstairs room where we were meeting. 9 Seated in a window was a young man named Eutychus, who was sinking into a deep sleep as Paul talked on and on. When he was sound asleep, he fell to the ground from the third story and was picked up dead. 10 Paul went down, threw himself on the young man and put his arms around him. “Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “He’s alive!” 11 Then he went upstairs again and broke bread and ate. After talking until daylight, he left. 12 The people took the young man home alive and were greatly comforted.


Pedantism is one of many interictal symptoms of epilepsy, as written here:

http://justopenyoureyes-insaneblogger.blogspot.com/2010/09/temporal-lobe-epilepsy.html

And those affected with TLE might also exhibit heightened interpersonal viscosity, not associated with elevated social cohesion but due to "interictal language disturbances."

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC488981/

Of course, this isn't intended to dismiss other possible explanations for Paul's behavior but merely to propose one of many possible theories as to why he behaved in the way that he did. It's not even necessary to dismiss the possibility that he was both epileptic and actually did have a supernatural revelation, at least not anymore so than without this line of speculation. Again, this is supposed to be a speculative, exploratory discussion.

However, Paul the Apostle wouldn't be the first religious leader to have suffered from an epileptic condition. In fact, indigenous people from arctic climates, particularly observers of Tengriism, choose their religious leaders in this way routinely:

http://www.nakquda.com/essays/religion/shamanisticsickness/shamanisticsickness.pdf

I approve.


I agree it could be an interesting conversation. Frontal lobe epilepsy is a very interesting Idea.
I apologize for making it seem I was against discussion.
mental illness is a very important religious wellspring.
the Havasupai value schizophrenia or rather what western culture calls schizophrenia.
I still think Paul was lying but have enough interest in the bastard for a discussion.
Oh, I am more interested in temporal-lobe epilepsy, myself. I personally have some minor seizures once in a while, but I honestly doubt that I qualify as an epileptic. It's probably related to the Tourettes/autism gig more than anything else. Besides, I asked my neurologist about it, and he waved his his hand and said, "oh, just take a melatonin." As I have come from expect from the crazy SOB, he was spot on: the melatonin knocked the dang things right out. Crazy like a fox.

I also used to get musical ear a lot. That is, random noise would turn into sophisticated melodies.
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