Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Brain of the Minister

Ever wondered what was in the brain of your minister? A thorough study of the bumps on their skull may do the trick. I am, of course, referring to Phrenology, a "science" quite popular in the 19th century. Used for good and for ill, Phrenology located certain traits in parts of the brain and then, through feeling skull bumps, sought to analyze the individuals propensities and qualities.
This from James Freeman Clarke on the brains of some local ministers (including his own), analyzed during his early years in Kentucky

"Some years since, when the writer of this essay resided in a Western city, a distinguished Phrenologist visited the place, and made an examination of the heads of six Protestant clergymen. He pronounced them all deficient in the organ of Reverence or Veneration, said they had no devotional tendencies by nature, and added, that they ought not, any of them, to have become clergymen. And, what is more remarkable, all of these six clergymen admitted the correctness of his observation. They all declared it to be true that they had no special devotional or religious tendencies by nature, and that their religion had come to them, not in the way of development, but in that of crisis. As one of these clergymen, however, while admitting the fact as regarded myself, I denied the inference. For I believed that a person might be as well fitted for the office of a clergyman, whose religion was a matter of experience and conviction, — born out of the struggles of life, out of self-conflict and earnest endeavor, — as if it had grown up out of a large organic tendency. More so, perhaps ; for such a nan would be better qualified to meet the needs of others, who had felt in himself, in distinct throes of consciousness, the birth of the religious life, than if it had come to him as a special gift of nature."

Thats using his "symbolical head" Blessings

1 comment:

James said...

And here I thought phrenology was a pseudoscience...