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Jerusalem Syndrome

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  • Jerusalem Syndrome

    Doing some sorting out I found, pushed into a corner of a bookcase, an interesting little book by J E Hanauer, Canon of St George's Cathedral in Jerusalem, who published it in 1907.

    It is a very interesting little collection entitled Folklore of the Holy Land Moslem, Christian, and Jewish. However, browsing through it once again I recall reading, following the disappearance in 2018 of a British Christian in the Negev Desert [https://www.theguardian.com/society/...itish-tourist] of a comment Hanauer made in the 1870s that "It is an odd fact that many Americans who arrive at Jerusalem are either lunatics or lose their mind thereafter.' https://www.christiantoday.com/artic...ome/123805.htm

    The cases of Jerusalem Syndrome [JS] range from the delightfully endearing, to wit the Englishwoman in the 1930s who, having convinced herself that the Second Coming was imminent, took to climbing Mount Scopus every morning with a cup of tea to welcome Jesus on his return; to the positively dangerous when in 1969 barely two years after the Six Day War Australian Denis Michael Rohan set fire to the Al Aqsa Mosque believing God had told him to clean out the "abominations" and whose actions led to riots. He was found to be insane by an Israeli court and deported back to Australia.

    From https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org...salem-syndrome

    The Jerusalem Syndrome was first clinically identified by Dr. Yair Bar El, formerly director of the Kfar Shaul Psychiatric Hospital. Bar El studied 470 tourists who were referred for treatment between 1979 and 1993. On the basis of his work with these visitors, who had been declared temporarily insane, Bar El reached some fascinating conclusions.

    Of the 470 visitors from all over the world who were hospitalized, 66 percent were Jews, 33 percent were Christians and one percent had no known religious affiliation. Bar El is quick to point out that it is not only tourists who demonstrate behaviour that indicates the Jerusalem Syndrome; in fact local residents can be temporarily or permanently affected as well.

    The peak time for visitors who are "intoxicated" by the Holy City is, not surprisingly, during the holiday seasons - Christmas, Jewish High Holy days, Easter and Passover - or during the summer months of July and August. Bar El divides the patients into two broad categories: those with previous psychiatric histories and those with no previous psychiatric history.

    The pilgrim-tourists studied demonstrated remarkably similar patterns of disintegration and symptoms generally appeared on the second day of their stay in Jerusalem, when they began to feel an inexplicable nervousness and anxiety. If they came with a group or family they suddenly felt a need to be on their own and left the others. They would often begin to perform acts of purification, or cleansing, such as immersion in a mikva (ritual bath). Often the patients changed their clothes in an effort to resemble biblical figures, for example dressing in white robes, because most of them chose to identify themselves with a character from the New or Old Testament. This type of behaviour does not, of course, inevitably lead to hospitalization in a psychiatric ward. Indeed, most of those affected by the Jerusalem Syndrome do not cause any disturbance and are at worst a nuisance or a mild source of amusement. But a certain percentage of the people are severely disturbed and will often behave in a way that demands psychiatric intervention, at least temporarily.

    Sometimes the Jerusalem Syndrome victim will have definite religious goals, others have political inclinations. Some patients adopt magical health views or individual religious requirements, self-written prayers and idiosyncratic customs.

    An interesting sub-group consists of patients who have no previous psychiatric problems whatsoever. "Something just happened to me," is a common response when such tourists begin psychotherapy. Bar El believes that the shock of facing the earthly Jerusalem can cause a psychiatric reaction which helped bridge the reality with the dream city.


    An interesting paper written in 2000 [and now available online] details how the lead up to the millennium increased instances of this syndrome and the three distinct sub-types of its manifestations.https://www.cambridge.org/core/journ...8A5FEB8CB756D9

    However, as a short video on Youtube [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JLkBo55OTko] points out when interviewing a former member of Shin Bet, the delusions of Christians and Jews [given that this syndrome affects followers of those two religions] has possible dangerous implications and potential consequences for individuals to be manipulated and exploited by extremist groups.

    The video cites The Temple Mount Faithful group and interviews its founder Gershon Salomon wants to remove the mosque and who claims in the interview that "The support of American evangelists is important, even decisive, in this struggle to rebuild the Temple". As the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem notes "As to the reaction if the mosque is damaged, I cannot describe it".

    Delusions, possible psychosis, and religious fanaticism can make for a potentially lethal "cocktail".

    "It ain't necessarily so
    The things that you're liable
    To read in the Bible
    It ain't necessarily so
    ."

    Sportin' Life
    Porgy & Bess, DuBose Heyward, George & Ira Gershwin

  • #2
    I used to go to these hippy gatherings many years ago as a missionary with long hair a beard and teva sandles. That's the first time I heard the term Jerusalem syndrome. I never got the Jesus look down though... didn't have the right facial symmetry.

    Comment


    • #3
      Very interesting. It seems that, every so often, bouts of enthusiasm will crop up in this or that country, at this or that date.

      Mgr Ronald Knox wrote a survey of such excitements in his book “Enthusiasm” in 1950. Norman Cohn’s “Pursuit of the Millennium” supplements Knox. A survey of such movements, from about 1800 to today, and including this, would be good. And a comparative religious and political social study, to take in analogous movements, would be very desirable.

      Comment


      • #4
        Last time I was in Jerusalem, our tour guide, a secular Jew, was explaining "Jerusalem Syndrome" to us, and as she was talking, a group of people in white robes came walking around the corner carrying a big wooden cross on their shoulders, chanting away in Hebrew, and moaning and groaning....

        Our tour guide just tilted her head toward that group and smiled. (Like, "see there? right on cue!")
        The first to state his case seems right until another comes and cross-examines him.

        Comment


        • #5
          As noted in the OP and the link to the paper [and video] this behaviour takes various forms. The Australian in the video who thinks he is King David came across as relatively harmless, but [from the paper] the American who thought he was Samson and then tried to move one of the stones from the Western Wall caused a more serious incident.

          However, the comment from the former member of Shin Bet that extremists and/or extremist views can influence the more credulous, and/or those with an underlying psychosis remains a cause for concern.
          "It ain't necessarily so
          The things that you're liable
          To read in the Bible
          It ain't necessarily so
          ."

          Sportin' Life
          Porgy & Bess, DuBose Heyward, George & Ira Gershwin

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Hypatia_Alexandria View Post
            As noted in the OP and the link to the paper [and video] this behaviour takes various forms. The Australian in the video who thinks he is King David came across as relatively harmless, but [from the paper] the American who thought he was Samson and then tried to move one of the stones from the Western Wall caused a more serious incident.

            However, the comment from the former member of Shin Bet that extremists and/or extremist views can influence the more credulous, and/or those with an underlying psychosis remains a cause for concern.
            Crazy folks are always a matter of concern, no matter the reason.

            I'm always still in trouble again

            "You're by far the worst poster on TWeb" and "TWeb's biggest liar" --starlight (the guy who says Stalin was a right-winger)
            "Overall I would rate the withdrawal from Afghanistan as by far the best thing Biden's done" --Starlight
            "Of course, human life begins at fertilization that’s not the argument." --Tassman

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by rogue06 View Post
              Crazy folks are always a matter of concern, no matter the reason.
              To cite your good self.

              "Thank you for this bit of information. I don't know what we would have done without it."
              "It ain't necessarily so
              The things that you're liable
              To read in the Bible
              It ain't necessarily so
              ."

              Sportin' Life
              Porgy & Bess, DuBose Heyward, George & Ira Gershwin

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Hypatia_Alexandria View Post

                To cite your good self.

                "Thank you for this bit of information. I don't know what we would have done without it."
                More appropriate for the post it responded to.

                I'm always still in trouble again

                "You're by far the worst poster on TWeb" and "TWeb's biggest liar" --starlight (the guy who says Stalin was a right-winger)
                "Overall I would rate the withdrawal from Afghanistan as by far the best thing Biden's done" --Starlight
                "Of course, human life begins at fertilization that’s not the argument." --Tassman

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by rogue06 View Post
                  More appropriate for the post it responded to.
                  Given the comments by Athas, it would appear not. He holds that bytdwd should be considered as a toponym and not a personal name.
                  "It ain't necessarily so
                  The things that you're liable
                  To read in the Bible
                  It ain't necessarily so
                  ."

                  Sportin' Life
                  Porgy & Bess, DuBose Heyward, George & Ira Gershwin

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Hypatia_Alexandria View Post

                    Given the comments by Athas, it would appear not. He holds that bytdwd should be considered as a toponym and not a personal name.
                    Did you post this in the thread you intended to post this in?

                    I'm always still in trouble again

                    "You're by far the worst poster on TWeb" and "TWeb's biggest liar" --starlight (the guy who says Stalin was a right-winger)
                    "Overall I would rate the withdrawal from Afghanistan as by far the best thing Biden's done" --Starlight
                    "Of course, human life begins at fertilization that’s not the argument." --Tassman

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by rogue06 View Post
                      Did you post this in the thread you intended to post this in?
                      My reply was in response to your remark concerning a comment of yours that I had quoted from another thread about the personal name of David.
                      Last edited by Hypatia_Alexandria; 08-03-2021, 08:59 AM.
                      "It ain't necessarily so
                      The things that you're liable
                      To read in the Bible
                      It ain't necessarily so
                      ."

                      Sportin' Life
                      Porgy & Bess, DuBose Heyward, George & Ira Gershwin

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Hypatia_Alexandria View Post

                        My reply was in response to your remark concerning a comment of yours that I had quoted from another thread about the personal name of David.
                        That came out of the blue and is not connected in any way to any post in this thread.

                        Again, did you post this in the thread you intended to post this in?

                        Remember, it doesn't hurt to admit to making a mistake.

                        I'm always still in trouble again

                        "You're by far the worst poster on TWeb" and "TWeb's biggest liar" --starlight (the guy who says Stalin was a right-winger)
                        "Overall I would rate the withdrawal from Afghanistan as by far the best thing Biden's done" --Starlight
                        "Of course, human life begins at fertilization that’s not the argument." --Tassman

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by rogue06 View Post
                          That came out of the blue and is not connected in any way to any post in this thread.
                          In my reply at post #7 I quoted what you had written on this thread https://theologyweb.com/campus/forum...ds#post1287320 and hence I used the phrase "to quote your good self".

                          To which you replied at post # 8

                          Originally posted by rogue06 View Post
                          More appropriate for the post it responded to.
                          And to which I replied at post #9

                          Originally posted by Hypatia_Alexandria View Post

                          Given the comments by Athas, it would appear not. He holds that bytdwd should be considered as a toponym and not a personal name.
                          Post #9 was therefore making a direct reference back to your original remark which appeared on that other thread.



                          .

                          "It ain't necessarily so
                          The things that you're liable
                          To read in the Bible
                          It ain't necessarily so
                          ."

                          Sportin' Life
                          Porgy & Bess, DuBose Heyward, George & Ira Gershwin

                          Comment

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