Why Dr. Hering Resigned from the Homeopathic Medical College
Story of Loyalty to Principles

Homeopath Iman Navab tells the story of when Dr. Constantine Hering Resigned from the Homeopathic Medical College of Pennsylvania. It is a lesson in homeopathy and integrity.

I wish to share with you a very interesting historic event that reveals Dr. Hering’s attempt to keep Pathology part of homeopathy educational curriculum.

Let’s go back in time to review what happened; first, the background of the story, so bare with me. It is a sad reality that from the time that the Homeopathic Medical College of Pennsylvania was purchased in the year 1855, the college had struggled under a load of debt due to many expenses and a high mortgage. In an attempt to save the college from financial hardship, the college’s management board decided to reorganize its structure. Thus in 1864, Dr. Constantine Hering was elected by the college as the chair of Homeopathy and Practice of Medicine; and in 1865, Dr. Adolph Lippe was elected as the President of the college, he held the position of chair of Materia Medica as of the year 1864.

When the college began under the new structure it was decided to publish a medical magazine. Thus in August of 1865, the first issue of the Hahnemannian Monthly magazine was issued under the supervision of Dr. Hering, Dr. Lippe and Dr. Frost, who then appointed a Publication Committee. It is also interesting that a month later at a meeting in September of that year, it was voted to allow ladies to sit in a designated room to listen to lectures for the first time.

In March of 1866, a faculty meeting was held at Dr. Hering’s residence for the purpose of discussing and settling up the college’s financial accounts for the year just ended – 1865. In that meeting at Dr. Hering’s house, the president of the college, Dr. A. Lippe, announced that the treasury earned enough funds to pay all the current bills and liabilities and still have enough for current expenses. Obviously this was great news for the college, considering that they were going through tough financial times in the previous academic years. On a side note, in September of that year Dr. Hering proposed that Dr. F. Boericke be authorized to prepare a standard Homeopathic Pharmacopeia and present a standard methodology for preparing various homeopathic medicines.

One year later, in 1867, we reach the critical period in the history of this college; in a board meeting, the president Dr. Adolph Lippe, said that the Chair of Pathology was unnecessary, that it was contrary to pure Homeopathy, that the homoeopathic physician did not need pathology, but only the power to prescribe according to the methods of Hahnemann from the totality of symptoms. However, Dr. Hering strongly disagreed and said that the study of pathology was very essential to proper medical education of the homeopathic physician. But Dr. Lippe maintained his position on this matter and removed the study of pathology from the college. As a result of this disagreement Dr. Hering withdrew. Efforts by the other members of the faculty were made to encourage Dr. Hering to return, but they were not successful. Consequently the resignation of Dr. Hering from the Homeopathic Medical College of Pennsylvania, took place in spring of 1867.

Dr. Hering received endorsement by large numbers of his fellow homeopaths. He was determined that the doctrines of Hahnemann should not be left harshly exposed to the personal plan of any individual. Subsequently Dr. Hering organized a new institution under the name of the Hahnemann Medical College of Philadelphia.

The two Colleges ran side by side for two years. The majority firmly believed that Dr. Hering was on the right path, and they were hoping for and expecting the time when the two colleges would be reunited as one institution; however that time came even sooner than was anticipated.

Ultimately this important issue was settled among the homeopathy professors once and forever, when they decided that pathology must remain part of homeopathic medical education. This was a success for Dr. Hering, and an important achievement for the science of homeopathy. This of course is not to discount Dr. Lippe’s hard labour and immense service to homeopathy. Indeed Dr. Lippe’s teachings also remain one of the great assets of this medical system. Dr. Lippe said: “Pathology teaches us only such symptoms as must by necessity always be present in a given form of disease, are characteristic of the disease only, but do not include, and of necessity, cannot include the peculiar, extraordinary symptoms of every individual.” In this regard, Dr. James Tyler Kent said: “All pathological changes must be regarded as the results of disease, since all disease is dynamic.”

Dr. Cyrus Maxwell Boger, another pillar of homeopathy, nicely said: “All sicknesses present two classes of manifestations, those by which they are named or symptoms determined by the diagnosis and those peculiar to individuals and cases. In weighing their value for the purpose of deciding upon the choice of a remedy, the diagnostic symptoms take a secondary place.”

In conclusion, we, homeopaths, always have to be very clear on this fact that Dr. Hahnemann never dismissed Pathology; this knowledge does not belong to any specific school, being allopathy or homeopathy. Pathology is an essential language for understanding disease, and knowledge of disease is part of a homeopath’s medical knowledge.

As always God bless Homeopathy!