Homeopathy Papers

Kent and Swedenborg: Julian Winston in reply to Shirley Reischman’s Article

Shirley Reischman says: “How do you think Hering came up with his concept of direction of cure? It’s pure Swedenborg!” “This statement again comes either from a bias toward Kent or from an ignorance of Boenninghausen,” she says. “Kent is the originator of the term ‘Classical’”

In reply to Shirley Reischman’s Article on Kent and Swedenborg, I offer the following.

Shirley Reischman says:


” How do you think Hering came up with his concept of direction of cure? It’s pure Swedenborg!”

Sorry to say, but this statement shows not only a Swedenborgian bias, but a lack of historical knowledge.

The way Hering came up with his “direction of cure” was simply through observation. This is described by him in a preface he wrote to the first American edition of Hahnemann’s Chronic Disease. This is the ONLY place this writing of Hering was published. In it he says that “Every homeopathic physician must have observed that improvement *in pain* takes place from above downward; and in diseases, from within outward.” He later says, “…the most important organs being the first relieved; the affection passes off in the order in which the organs had been effected, the most important being relieved first, the less important next, and the skin last.”

In 1865 Hering wrote an article in the “Hahnemannian Monthly” that reiterates the ideas of direction, crediting Hahnemann for first having the “general observations” of the phenomenon (1811: above down; inside out; parts to generals; 1828: Chrionic Diseases; 1833: Organon 161 and 248– original symptoms are last to aggravate or become prominent before disappearing). In 1875 in “Analytical Therapeutics” Hering states that only patients who “have been rid of their symptoms in the reverse order of development” can be really cured. ALL of this comes through observation of patients. None comes from a pre-existing idea based on Swedenborg.

Of all the homeopaths who were Swedenborgs, it was only Kent, who merged the religion with homeopathy– the rest of them kept it quite separate, and that included Hering. His “direction of cure” came from observation and NOT from his Swedenborg religion. Check out “Hering’s Law: law, rule, or dogma” by Andre Saine in the Winter issue of Simillimum, Vol. VI no. 4 1993.


Ms. Reischman says:
“Then there is Kent’s Repertory. There was Boenninghausen’s repertory and some others, of course, but they left a lot to be desired in terms of organization. ”

As far as the Boenninghausen Repertory “leaving a lot to be desired in terms of organization, “this statement again comes either from a bias toward Kent or from an ignorance of Boenninghausen.

The majority of people who understood Boenninghausen’s Repertory were those who learned it from the German and understood its methodology– which is directly out of Hahnemann. Kent was NOT a German speaker, nor did he enter homeopathy at a time when many were using the Boenninghausen work, primarily because they did not comprehend the structure of it. It is, VERY organized, but in a completely different way than the Kent book. Kent’s mind could not understand the Boenninghausen structure but for those who DID understand its organization, it works like a charm. I’d suggest getting a newly written book by George Dimitriadis (from Australia) called Homeopathic Diagnosis — which is a description of the Boenninghausen methodology, and a good number of cases that were cured with the use of the book.


Ms. Reischman says:
“Kent is the originator of the term ‘Classical’ in referring to Hahnemannian homeopathy. He used the term to set himself and his followers apart from the Eclectics and the combination prescribers.”

I would be curious to know *where* Kent says this. It MIGHT be in his “Lesser Writings.” I know it is NOT in either his Materia Medica (where the only mention using the word is under IGNATIA when describing symptoms that are “classially put into her mind”) nor in his lectures on Philosophy where the word is used only ONCE while discussing Hahnemann’s methodology in Para. 15 and saying, “This is the classical way to proceed.”

The first use of the word “Classical” to describe a specific way of practicing homeopathy was, as far as I know, coined by George Vithoulkas and Bill Gray in 1978.

Respectfully submitted,

Julian Winston
Tawa, New Zealand

Here you can read Sheirley Reischman’s reply to Julian Winston’s critique: Kent and Swedenborg: Shirley Reischmann in reply to Julian Winston’s critique


About the author

Julian Winston

Julian Winston was considered the foremost historian of homeopathy and his website is rich with homeopathic archives.

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