Sue Young Histories

Johann Emanuel Veith 1787 - 1877

February 06, 2009

Johann Emanuel Veith 1787 - 1877 was an Austrian orthodox physician who converted to homeopathy.

Veith was a complex and revolutionary man who brought homeopathy to Austria in 1818. Veith was a radical Priest and a radical homeopath.

He was a proponent of isopathy, his successful treatment of Cholera by homeopathy, alongside Matthias Marenzeller, Moritz Wilhelm Mueller, and many others, resulted in Francis II (Emperor Franz I) ordering clinical trials of homeopathy in Vienna in 1828, and the successful outcome of these trials led to a wide acceptance of homeopathy as a university discipline in Prague and in Vienna.

Veith’s work was influential enough to influence Louis Pasteur. Veith advocated ‘autopsorin’ to avoid conveying the donor’s other possible diseases to the recipient, thus Veith and Constantine Hering become the forerunners of our modern ’autogenous vaccines‘.

Veith witnessed the cure of his brother by homeopathy and immediately converted to homeopathy. He treated 125 patients with Cholera in 1830, losing only 3 patients.

Veith discovered Phosphoric Acid as an important homeopathic remedy in the treatment of advanced Cholera, and he promoted the use of the homeopathic remedy Camphor in the treatment of Cholera.

Veith communicated with Samuel Hahnemann, asking his opinion about his cases, and Samuel Hahnemann wrote to Veith congratulating him on his success in treating Cholera and welcoming him as a homeopath.

Johann Emanuel Veith was from a devout Jewish family, his father wanted him to be a rabbi and he learned the Hebrew language, which he later, as the French, excellently mastered.

Always precocious, and already a child of Voltaire and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe he attended grammar school in Prague and studied there and then 1803-1806, studying philosophy under Bernhard Bolzano.

During this time he met Anton Gunther with whom he remained close throughout his life. At the same time, he was employed by the George Joseph Meinert publisher on the literary magazine Libussa.

In 1807, he began his medical studies, specialising in 1808 in veterinary studies.

He worked for a time at the Vienna Military Hospital, during which time, during a semester break, visited Johann Wolfgang von Goethe in Carlsbad, which left on him a deep and lasting impression.

Veith obtained his Doctorate in 1812 and became Doctor of Medicine, was Assistant Professor and 1816 temporary, 1819 real director of the Vienna veterinary institute. Since 1812, he published several botanical, medical and veterinary books.

In addition, he wrote his first poem at age 16 and by 1819, he had published poems and novels and text books and opera festivals. In 1814, his musical The Return of the Emperor had already been performed. He played the violin and tried, not without talent, in drawing.

In1816 he was baptized, after his own testimony, for personal reasons, and he thus met the leading men of the Catholic renewal Wiener Church, Friedrich Zacharias Werner and the Vicar General of the Redemptorists, Klemens Maria Hofbauer, whose his doctor he became.

In 1817, he began his theological studies. At the suggestion of Klemens Maria Hofbauer, he founded together with Anton Passy the literary and religious magazine Oelzweige (1819-1823), to which he made many contributions in his edifying bizarre, humorous style.

This publication attracted the attention of his friend John Madlener, and Veith continued to publish articles on philosophical and theological questions.

In 1821, he became a priest and Redemptorist, and in 1824, Veith became Konsultor of the new Vicar General, Joseph P Passerat. He was a celebrated preacher and missionary people in Vienna and in Styria, in addition, he was still as a doctor, and as a homeopath.

In 1830, Veith left the Congregation of the Redemptorists (April 16 dispensation from the vows). The reason for this step (was due to) the incompatibility of his diverse intellectual interests with the regulation by the religious rule to be seen. Recent authors… speculate that this was due to the development of the Austrian Redemptorists, such as Klemens Maria Hofbauer, the successor in the management of trans Alpine branch or the Order.

Veith, and his friend Anton Gunther and Klemens Maria Hofbauer, as Veith’s Ideal was against an order, where “a lively exchange of ideas and a blind obedience” could not be compatible. As Joseph P Passerat was not received, it caused to a scism, and Veith’s sermons included the works of men whose orthodoxy was questioned in the congregation, namely by Anton Gunther and his pupil Johann Heinrich Pabst.

Veith was named after the testimony of Cardinal Diepenbrock in Austria. As a preacher, Veith was condemned not so much by the way he spoke, but rather by the content of his witty speeches which contained examples and anecdotes, often with humor and sarcasm.

The leitmotif of his speech was Klemens Maria Hofbauer’s word: “The gospel must be preached from scratch.”

As the 1831 cholera raged in Vienna, Veith gave not only a famous sermon, but also provided excellent medical care. The fruit of his experience was a treatise on healing and prevention of cholera.

As a Professor at the University of Munich 1834, he was also employed in 1846 in Freiburg cathedral chapter.

Due to his extensive knowledge and his kindness and helpfulness, Veith was universally respected, but he was a ‘strange genius’, and also the largest distributor of “Christian philosophy” at this time.

He knew Günther Laurenz Grief (?), and he also belonged to the Friends of Cardinal Schwarzenberg, and he gave the sermon ‘Primiz and Ehrenkanonikus’ in Salzburg and Prague.

With Anton Gunther, he published Lydia against Hegelianismus.

With friends from the circle, and with Anton Gunther and bourgeois Jew from Christian circles, Veith found himself, during the revolution, under some threat due to these sermons. In  May 1848, the Viennese Catholics fought for freedom for the Church against the state, but also greater freedom within the the Church itself.

As an organizer and speaker of the club, and as an “ultra moderate Montanwerke”, Veith campaigned against the blind “Jesuit” principle of obedience and invited the participation of the lower clergy and the laity in the church inside.

At the same time he published the short lived magazine “upward” (Vienna 1848), subtitled Volksblatt for faith, freedom and civilization.

In 1849, he again attracted attention with his “political passion sermons”, but unfortunately, the initiatives found little support. The Vienna Archbishop Vinzenz Eduard Milde and his successor Othmar Rauscher, objected and Veith withdrew with almost all the founding members of the association.

Veith protected Anton Gunther with his friend Cardinal Schwarzenberg, on whose invitation he moved to Prague 1850-1855.  Again, he began preaching, and as the soul of the Catholic Association, and since 1853, he was employed primarily as a retreat master for working priests.

Building on his own experience as a young priest, he worked at this time with the idea of an Order based on Christian philosophy (Anton Gunther).

Veith was by this time prone to gout, and in 1855, suffering a severe hearing loss which almost led to total deafness, he returned to Vienna.

The condemnation of the works of his friend Anton Gunther in 1857 upset him deeply. At the insistence of Cardinal Schwarzenberg, he drafted an article as a justification of Anton Gunther’s philosophy.

Shortly after the death of his friend Anton Gunther, Veith became blind in 1863. Nevertheless, and despite his disabilities, he worked with women victims up to his death as a religious writer.

However, he and his mostly Christian friends of Jews, were deeply hurt by the acts of the Roman Church. Rome had completed suppressed their ‘scientific quest’ of Catholicism. Many of Veith’s friends now found their spiritual home as liberal Catholics.

Veith was critical of the orthodox dogma. Despite his critical stance, he wrote emotionally deep and theological treatises. Among these is his last work on the Song of Songs and Kohelet a special position.

Veith’s translation and explanation of the two Old Testament scriptures edification and connects to a critical exegesis.

Veith was awarded from his Universities of Prague and Vienna, an honorary doctorate in Theology, and at the Priest Jubilee in 1871, he was appointed an Honorary Citizenship of the City of Vienna by the ecclesiastical authorities in Vienna.

However, he was ignored by Rome. On the other hand, Veith was applauded by the Congregation of the Redemptorists.

Veith worked literally until his death on 6 November 1876. The joint tomb of Veith, Anton Gunther and Laurenz Grief(?)  is now in Waldmüller Park, the former Matzleinsdorfer cemetery in Vienna.

Pastor J M Vieth was pastor and canon of the cathedral of St. Stephen’s, in Vienna.

He became converted to Homoeopathy about 1825-26. In order to more successfully fulfill the duties of his position among the poor he studied medicine, passing his examination in 1820.

He then devoted himself to theology. In 1825 he began to use homeopathic treatment with good effect. During the cholera epidemic of 1831-32 he was especially successful with homeopathic remedies and so informed Samuel Hahnemann.

Father Veith, writing from Vienna, Oct. 10, 1831, describes his homeopathic treatment and then concludes: “This is my treatment which I have invariably used with universal success. I must confess that nothing can be more pardonable than an error of judgment in the treatment of cholera in its first outbreak.

“Ars longa vita brevis, - how short is our experience in so violent a disease the first symptom of which is the last of many other complaints!

“The numerous pamphlets, instructions, advices for curing, etc., which we everywhere meet with, confirm the opinion, at all times too generally entertained, that cholera and diarrhoea ought to be treated by warm diapnoic and diaphoretic remedies, whereas, the exact contrary is the only correct and useful course to be pursued.

“The same numerous instances of false cures turning into nervous and other diseases cannot excite surprise, as many patients pay no attention to the diarrhoea which for one or two days precedes an attack of cholera.

“No cases treated from the beginning on homeopathic principles disclosed such instances of pseudo cures.”

Pierre Augustus Rapou says of Veith in 1832: “Father Veith distinguished himself by his great knowledge and enjoyed great popularity.

“With no other resource than his talent, he assumed the post of the direction of the veterinary school during which he employed the functions possible to the better sort of veterinary medicine and which are in use today.

“Weary of occupying that position, he longed for the ecclesiastical state whither his soul prompted him. He became official preacher of the court without renouncing his profession. These sermons always attracted a crowd.

“He also followed, incessantly, the study of Homeopathy, obtained a diploma, and began with zeal to practice that art; his clientage became immense, the epidemic of cholera which then appeared he combatted with great success.

“His reputation extended greatly and he became known throughout Germany as one of the most skillful physicians for the cholera.

“Meanwhile the Archbishop of Vienna sought to forbid him the practise of medicine, its incessant preoccupations not being in accordance with the duties of a minister.

“Today Father Veith is no more than an amateur physician and he is resigned to relinquish all the influence upon our school which arose from his many years of arduous labor.”

Pierre Augustus Rapou visiting Vienna in 1846, and says that time had dispersed the friends he had formerly met there; that Veith had entirely ceased any intercourse with the medical world.

Pierre Augustus Rapou quotes from a letter by Father Veith: “It may not he denied that the high dilutions (12. 15) may be efficacious against the cholera, but Veith says that while he believes in dynamization yet he prefers the lower potencies, and has even given a grain of the poppy or of hemp.”

Pierre Augustus Rapou says that Veith repudiated Isopathy. In 1836, when the subject was interesting German physicians, Veith wrote to Philip Wilhelm Ludwig Griesselich saying: “The simple law of similia similibus is to day the most solid of principles; an exaggeration of that law therapeutic is that which is called Isopathy.”

Father Veith rejected emphatically the administration of products secreted by another person and attributed to that proceeding many psoric infections diverse and very dangerous. In 1832 he published a book on Healing and Prophylaxis of Cholera, (Pierre Augustus Rapou, vol. 2, p. 121. Fisher. Biog. Denhmal.)

Veith’s book on veterinary medicine was an important addition to homeopathic literature, and the book was in use for over 15 years.

Professor S Veith Practiced in Vienna. He first had his attention called to Homeopathy in 1818 by the army surgeon, Krastiansky, in Klattau. He practiced veterinary, and used it in the Veterinary Hospital as early as 1825.

Pierre Augustus Rapou, in 1846 visited the institutions of Vienna, He presented himself to Dr. Veith, Professor in the Veterinary School, who was the special physician of a public dispensary, directed by a young physician.

Veith, brother of Father Veith, and his successor at the school veterinary, is very nearly upon the line of George? Schmid

  • perhaps with less exaggeration in posology. (World’s Conv., vol. 2, pp. 199, 200, 201. Kleinert, pp. 165, 242. _Pierre Augustus Rapou, vol. 1, pp. 209, 258, etc. ; vol, 2, pp. 213, 290. Bibl. Hom., vol. 9, p. 89._ )


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