Joan of Arc
Article first published online: 5 NOV 2007
Volume 32, Issue 6, pages 810–815, December 1991
How to Cite
Foote-Smith, E. and Bayne, L. (1991), Joan of Arc. Epilepsia, 32: 810–815. doi: 10.1111/j.1528-1157.1991.tb05537.x
- Issue published online: 5 NOV 2007
- Article first published online: 5 NOV 2007
- Received April 1988; revision accepted October 1990.
- History of medicine;
- Temporal lobe;
- Joan of Arc
Summary: For centuries, romantics have praised and historians and scientists debated the mystery of Joan of Arc's exceptional achievements. How could an uneducated farmer's daughter, raised in harsh isolation in a remote village in medieval France, have found the strength and resolution to alter the course of history? Hypotheses have ranged from miraculous intervention to creative psychopathy. We suggest, based on her own words and the contemporary descriptions of observers, that the source of her visions and convictions was in part ecstatic epileptic auras and that she joins the host of creative religious thinkers suspected or known to have epilepsy, from St. Paul and Mohammed to Dostoevsky, who have changed western civilization.