It is now a decade since the publication of our The Bönninghausen Repertory (TBR), and this second edition is the result of our continued application of this repertorial method with constant reference to our primary sources for clarification of rubric terms, by which process we gain an understanding of Bönninghausen’s Therapeutisches Taschenbuch (TT) and how it represents our primary, pure, pharmacography for the purposes of homœopathic diagnosis.
In order to provide a contextual prelude for a more detailed introduction to this work, we offer the following historical overview which will reward its study with the necessary perspective of the origins and scope of TT, and of its most faithful English language successor, this second edition TBR. A more detailed account of repertorial lineage will be found in our Homœopathic Diagnosis… (DHD).
Development of Repertory
Hahnemann’s induction of a general similars principle governing the clinical effectiveness of medicines marked the birth of Homœopathy as a deliberate approach to medical therapy, and further established the need for a new, pure materia medica to methodically record substance effects upon the healthy organism (provings). He soon realised this increasing volume of provings data required a way of referencing individual symptoms, and the first alphabetic symptom index was appended to his Fragmenta…(1805), and he also compiled two further indices with which he was not satisfied, and which therefore remained unpublished.
There followed a number of works, most notably by Hartlaub, Schweikert, Weber, and Rückert, each listing a single remedy alongside a single symptom, more or less as it appeared in the provings records, re-arranged for easier reference. But these works were bulky (e.g., Hartlaub’s comprised over 6,700 pages), and whilst useful for study, too cumbersome in the clinical setting. It is important to note that none of these indices constituted what we now recognise as repertory.
2. Bönninghausen & The First Repertory
“… which fact caused me, even at the beginning of my study of this excellent and invaluable treatment, to think of expedients which would make the choice of suitable remedies easier and more certain, by this means bringing the symptoms of each one more clearly into view;”
Bönninghausen was trained in Law and Botany, skilled in brevity and taxonomy, and thus well placed for the task of symptom indexing. Remarkably, the first fruits of his effort appeared very soon after his recovery, in 1829, with the title Alphabetical table for ready reference to homœopathic medicines, and this was followed by a rapid succession of works, through which, we observe, Bönninghausen developed and shaped his work into what was termed Repertory.
The first such work was his Systematic Alphabetic Repertory of Antipsoric Remedies (SRA, 1832), wherein, for the first time, Bönninghausen had identified the consistent elements of each symptom and rendered them in rubric form, arranged systematically and alphabetically, and incorporated a consistent 4-tier remedy grading system to indicate the frequency of clinical usefulness. SRA quickly went into a second edition (1833), and two years later Bönninghausen published a similar work on the ‘non-antipsoric’ remedies (SRN, 1835). These two works together form a single repertorial model to which we now refer jointly as The First Repertory (TFR), and upon which our modern repertories are based.
3. TFR Successors
In 1834, Georg H.G. Jahr published his Handbuch (JH1), modelled on SRA, but lacking the consistency, accuracy, and succinctness of Bönninghausen’s work. The second edition of Jahr’s Handbuch (JH2, 1835) was later translated into English, under the editorship of C.Hering, and published in 1838 as the first English language Repertory. This work found its way via C.Lippe, to E.J.Lee, and onto J.T.Kent, being wholly incorporated into his Repertory whose structure was consistent with that of its predecessors. Thus, it may be seen that even Kent’s Repertory, wholly in structure and largely in content, derives from the ‘systematicalphabetic’ model of TFR. But Kent’s itself is full of significant errors, not surprising given his inability to examine the original (German language) sources, and these errors are multiplied further by its emulates, which later works have especially served to dilute any accurate information already present, and thereby reduce the consistency and certainty in our prescribing.
4. Bönninghausen’s Therapeutisches Taschenbuch
Bönninghausen soon recognised ‘defects’ inherent in the design structure of TFR, and began his focus on a new, improved method of repertory, and with Hahnemann’s full approval, his Therapeutisches Taschenbuch was published, simultaneously in German (TT), French (MT), and English (TPi), in 1846.
Bönninghausen’s TT became the most widely used and highly acclaimed repertory, undergoing a number of English (and other) editions before being translated afresh, revived as it were, for The Bönninghausen Repertory (TBR). The following diagram outlines the basic lineage of repertory initiated by Bönninghausen.
Therapeutisches Taschenbuch (Therapeutic Pocketbook)
Bönninghausen’s foresight and desire for transparency saw him list the provings source for each of the medicines contained in his TFR, thereby allowing comparison of each entry against its source proving. So when it came to constructing TT from its immediate precursor TFR, Bönninghausen did not again consult the provings (already represented within TFR), he only needed to convert the information contained in TFR for placement within the new structure of TT. This is doubtless one reason why he gives no sources for the medicines in his TT, but the other reason, more importantly, is that the entries it contains cannot all be found as is within the provings – they are rather representations of provings, a distillation, Bönninghausen’s understanding of each medicine’s characteristics, completed by analogy, and further validated and weighted according to his extensive experience. Indeed, at that time, Bönninghausen maintained one of the busiest practices in all Europe, and we can therefore rightly understand why Stuart Close offered the following summation:
“The experience of nearly a century has verified the truth of Bönninghausen’s idea and enabled us, in the use of his masterpiece, The Therapeutic Pocketbook, to overcome to a great extent the imperfections and limitations of our materia medica.”
Bönninghausen’s TT is an entirely new structural model which, more than any other, demands a secure grasp of Hahnemann’s observations and teachings, and although we provide the following brief overview, the reader will do well to study our companion volume DHD wherein we detail this topic.
1. Abstraction & Recombination – the basis of homœopathic diagnosis and of TT
Homœopathic diagnosis is determined upon the characteristics of a case (i.e., the consistencies), which, either alone, or, what is most often the case, in their combination, sufficiently distinguish both the disease, and its homœopathic remedy. Furthermore, the characteristics of a specific disease (medicinal or otherwise) may be abstracted from their individual sufferer and recombined into a stand-alone, distinct disease entity, for the comparison and diagnosis of future cases, and this is precisely the practice in all medical diagnostics.
This same process of abstraction & recombination of characteristics is used to complete symptoms by analogy, where the qualifying characteristics of one symptom may be used to define another symptom of the same type, as well as those of a different type and location, and it is for this reason that the 65,000 or so symptoms in Hahnemann’s own pharmacographies (RA/CK) are, mostly, fragments of original symptom descriptions which have been abstracted (separated) and re-arranged, according to his familiar head-to-foot-schema – not only for easy reference, but more importantly, to allow for their ready re-combination into a case-specific variety, which application is clearly evident in the published case analyses from Hahnemann himself.
This process, thoroughly understood by Bönninghausen, formed the basis of his TT design and construction:
“…it was at first my intention to retain the form and arrangement of my original Repertory…at the same time I intended to compress it into one volume, to define every part of it with greater accuracy and to complete it as much as possible from analogy as well as from experience. Having, however, finished about half of the Manuscript, it had, contrary to my expectation, grown to such a size, that I the more willingly relinquished my plan, as I saw, that most likely the same object might be attained in a more simple and even more satisfactory manner, if, by showing the peculiarities and characteristics of the remedies according to their different relations, I opened a path hitherto untrodden into the extensive field of combination.”
Bönninghausen thus abandoned the structure of his TFR, wherein each body system or region listed its attached qualifying characteristics (symptom descriptions & modalities), abstracting these characteristics to a single ‘Sensations & Complaints in General’ chapter, from where they could be retrieved, and readily recombined into a case-specific variety (even if never before seen [in that combination] in the provings), thereby providing both a flexibility and scope unmatched in any other repertorial work by “…opening a path hitherto untrodden into the extensive field of combination”. Bönninghausen writes: