– On the cutting edge of extinction : how the quest for modernity led to the erosion of identity in american homeopathy from 1865-Craig Repasz (Craig Repasz)
|James Tyler Kent|
When the IHA was formed, Lippé was 68 years old. Having suffered the personal losses of the deaths of his daughter and son in 1885, from which he never recovered, he died in 1888 of typhoid pneumonia. An obituary claimed, “one of the great lights of homeopathy has been extinguished.”lvi The conservative homeopaths had lost a figurehead. However, they found an American, James Tyler Kent, to become the new conservative voice.
James Tyler Kent (1849-1916) was trained as an allopathic doctor. He later began practicing as an Eclectic physician 2 when he converted to homeopathy in 1878. At that time, his wife had taken seriously ill and had not responded to any of his or other physicians’ treatments. Out of desperation and at his wife’s request, he sent for a homeopathic physician. She responded to the treatment.
Kent was so intrigued that he started to study homeopathy. He used a diverse selection of therapeutics in his practice until 1879, when he became a devout conservative homeopath. He was the professor of materia medica at the Homeopath Medical College of St. Louis from 1881 to 1888. He was listed as an honorary member of the Lippé Society in 1884. He joined the IHA in 1885, and in 1887 was elected president. In 1888 he moved to Philadelphia to take the position at the Women’s Homeopathic Hospital that had been vacated by Lippé upon his death. He became professor of materia medica and dean at the Post Graduate School of Homoeopathics in Philadelphia from 1891 to 1900. He later moved to Chicago and continued his teaching.
Kent’s books, Lectures on Homoeopathic Philosophy (1900), Lectures on Homeopathic Materia Medica (1905), and The Repertory of Homoeopathic Materia Medica (1897), were written during this period. Later his New Remedies, Clinical Cases, Lesser Writings, Aphorisms and Precepts in 1925, was published, based on his journal articles, lectures and addresses also compiled during this period.
Kent compiled Lectures on Homoeopathic Philosophy to be used as a complement to Hahnemann’s Organon. He followed the format of the Organon and began each of his chapters with a citation. Each section was filled with examples from his clinical practice and explanations of why the liberal approach would not work in the particular case study. The liberal approach usually entailed using a non-homeopathic drug, palliating symptoms, mixing remedies or ignoring the similia by basing the prescription on pathology. Kent claimed the book was needed because “by none are its [homeopathy’s] doctrines so distorted as by many of its pretended devotees.”lvii
Kent considered homeopaths who were not strict Hahnemannians a greater threat to homeopathy than allopaths.
Why would the most devout disciples of Hahnemann boycott a monument in his honor?
Kent also made accusations about the character of liberal homeopaths, often accusing them of greed and ineptitude. He considered homeopaths who were not strict Hahnemannians a greater threat to homeopathy than allopaths. “If you give quinine, go on with it;” he writes, “if you give an opiate, go on with it; do not go back to homeopathy. The man who does these things is a homeopathic failure. Some men are incapable of grasping homeopathic doctrines, and fall back into mongrelism which is a cross between homeopathy and allopathy. I would prefer an allopath to one who professes to be a homeopath but does not know enough homeopathy to practice it.”lviii
However, Kent’s attacks did not reform the liberal homeopaths. The liberals refuted his claims. They took issue with Kent and other Hahnemannians’ attempts to re-ground homeopathy based on Hahnemann’s tenets. One liberal homeopath, B.O. Morse from Arkansas, wrote, “There are those about us, and some who take upon themselves the responsibilities of moulding the minds of our medical students, who are guilty of worse than hero worship, yea, almost idolatry, who cling to the fallacious teachings of a man in his declining years, who accepted his writings as the rule and guide to their faith.”lix