Lettermania (pedantitis)

Today, an entry from a book in preparation: the Textbook of Spiritual Diseases. The introduction to the book includes the following warning:

“This book is intended more for self-diagnosis than for diagnosing others. Failure to keep this mind when using it may result in serious spiritual harm.”


Lettermania (pedantitis)

An inflammatory case of hypocritical pedantry. Hence, ‘pedantitis’ from ‘pedant’ – one who cares excessively for tiny unimportant details; and ‘-itis’ – inflammation. See II Corinthians 3:6

The patient is afflicted with an obsessive interest in following the very letter of God’s Law, whilst neglecting the spirit of it. Some very famous defining cases are recorded among the Pharisees in the Gospels, although there is strong evidence for the existence of this disease many centuries before that.





  • Disregard for the genuine welfare of others (although a superficial appearance of compassion is often exhibited)
  • A cancerous growth of pride in one’s piousness.



  • There is an obsessive attention to details such as eating precisely the right foods, fasting to the second, carrying out one’s daily prayer canon and meticulously preserving Church traditions.
  • A narrowing of the visual field and the emotional field so that only one point of view is visible. The patient refuses to seriously consider other points of view.
  • Self-confidence well above what is generally considered normal
  • Constant desire to teach others and exercise authority over others
  • An inflated estimations of one’s own self-worth, e.g. the patient insists on others according appropriate respect to the him; being overly sensitive to insults etc




The diagnosis cannot be made unless the first two symptoms are present, together with any number of the other symptoms.



  • Scriptural Correction Therapy (SCT) can be of immense value. The Bible is full of examples of this disease, both in the Old and New Testaments, together with God’s clear and powerful condemnation of it. This can be quite effective in achieving insight in the first instance, and then in modelling a new pattern of behaviour (below).
  • A new pattern of behaviour must be modelled and learned. Tools that can help in this process include SCT (above); mentoring; and regular self-review.
  • Successful treatment is not possible without the constant application of humility in large doses. This is aimed in particular at the tenacious symptom of pride in one’s piousness
  • Regular doses of humble service without reward can also help to improve the patient’s genuine compassion levels.
  • Reality Check Shock Therapy (RCST) is dangerous in this situation and should only be used by extremely experienced therapists. Cases of astounding success for this method have been recorded (e.g. one Saul of Tarsus who was treated with RCST on the road to Damascus), but these successes have only been at the hands of experts. In inexperienced hands they are likely to result in the patient becoming extremely angry, will serve only to increase the symptoms, and may sometimes result in harm to the inexperienced therapist.




  • This is one of the most difficult of the Spiritual Diseases in which to achieve insight.
  • Once insight has been achieved, the disease responds extremely well to treatment and the prognosis for recovery improves dramatically
  • This disease often occurs together with Superiority Complex. Treatment of both diseases simultaneously improves the chances of recovery, since if one of them is left untreated, it is almost certain to lead to a recurrence of the other.



Related Diseases and Syndromes

  • Camelophagia
  • Egovirus
  • Parish Pride
  • Superiority Complex
  • Whitewashing
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3 Replies to “Lettermania (pedantitis)”

  1. If you are early in the making, you can make it look like the DSM IV with the diagnostic criteria- but I guess that will make it a little too precise for application. The idea was funny to me (well initially), but I guess that is because I very seldom look out my sins as a disease or syndrome complex, and I tend just ti look at the individual symptoms as they are acted out (as ego-dystonic, rather than really a manifestation of root disease). Will it be sold where all good books are found?

    ppfm Abouna!

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  2. I think I could relate to that one. It sort of grown within me this past few months and I seem so irritated of any bit of the detail missed on my table.

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  3. I believe such syndromes and complicated conditions is part of the human life cycle since creation and will be till thy kingdom come , , the devil is the chief of the lord , it had been high lighted in our Good News the bible in details and as usual our bible is” a way of life” detailing every thing gave us the treatment and prognosis and even the consequences of not acting promptly not to eleminate but to eradicate such ailements “sins” which destroy our souls .So i believe by reading the bible and developing this personal relationship with our lord ,by talking to HIM,as HE likes to listen to everyone ,to every thing your weakness ,your strength etc . ,guess what will happen???!!! the prognosis would be good as our holy spirit would be highly activated and our lord PURIFY our hearts gradually till the human will have that real pure heart in which our lord dewell in it amen . Focus in Jesus Christ ,HE is the only way and life amen .

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