Religion Past and Present

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(363 words)

[German Version]

Historically, there is a difference between dejection (Ger. Schwermut) and melancholy. In Problemata XXX 1 (Aristotelis Opera, vol. II, 21960, 953 a 10 – 955 a 49), Theophrastus begins by asking why all outstanding personalities are melancholics and proceeds to describe melancholia as an anthropological disposition shared by all human beings, from which illness, mania, and depression, but also their opposite, distinctive creative powers arise. The melancholic transcends a generally ordinary life by virtue of a men-tal productivity acquired by overcoming …

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Wesche, Tilo, “Melancholy”, in: Religion Past and Present. Consulted online on 20 May 2022 <>
First published online: 2011
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004146662, 2006-2013

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