Given’s Ecclesiastical Chart

Given’s Ecclesiastical Chart
“Illustrating the Origin and Chronology of the various Religious Denominations of the World from the Expulsion of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden to the Present Time as recorded by the best Authorities.”
Copyrighted 1883 by A. Given, M.D. / Louisville, Ky.”


On August 1, 1883, the Southern Exposition opened in Louisville with an address by President Chester A. Arthur. The exposition featured the marvels of the age, including the largest display of Thomas Edison’s incandescent lighting to date. That same year Louisville physician, Adam Given (1829–1896), published his chart showing an evolution of the Christian family tree growing out of murky beginnings: the 4004 B.C. creation of a steamy earth with Africa and Eurasia delineated, a floodplain marked “Antediluvian Patriarchs,” and an isolated shrub that stands for “Ancient and Modern Paganism.” Across the river Adam and Eve occupy the Garden, their Fall marked by a toppled Roman column, Cain slays Abel, the sacrifices of Noah and Abraham flank the legend “God will provide,” and Moses displays the tablets on Mount Sinai. In the billowing smoke of Abel’s pleasing sacrifice is the Nativity of Christ, and a budded Latin cross with the words “The Lamb of God” on the crossbeam. The charge “This is Jesus the King of the Jews” is emblazoned above.

The great tree looms over the landscape and fills the sky. The lower trunk represents the “Hebrew or Jewish Church” dated 1921 B.C. out of which sprout Pharisees and Sadducees. The middle trunk is the “Apostolic Church,” and major branches include the Gnostics, the Church of England and its smaller Methodist stems, Popery, dated 1297, which includes the Presbyterians, the Novatians or Cathari supporting varieties of Baptists, and the Mystics from which Swedenborgians spring. At that point the trunk is divided in color with the “Eastern Church” on the left and the “Western or Latin Church” on the right. The Benedictine is the major branch from the western church, and above it the Eastern Church leaves the trunk, so that the “Roman Catholic Church” supports the tree’s crown. Zwinglian or Calvinistic Reformed Church and the Lutheran Church split from the trunk in 1410 and 1520. Numerals marking various points along the branches may refer to an accompanying text which is not in Bridwell’s collection. Whether or not the opportunity presented by the Southern Exposition engendered the printing or distribution of Adam Given’s Ecclesiastical Chart a similar cultural perspective is presented that assumes a progressive history at its peak.

Adam Given began studying medicine in his home town of Warm Springs, Virginia, with a Dr. Luchett. Given moved to Chicago in 1853, attended a course of lectures at Rush Medical College in 1858 and 1859, and then took up the practice of medicine in Woodstock, Illinois. He attended a second course of lectures in 1863 at the nearby Medical Department of Lind University (now Lake Forest College) graduating in 1864, and was appointed acting assistant surgeon of Louisville City Hospital in Kentucky the following year. He soon was forced to resign due to poor health. After a year recuperating Given took up private practice in Louisville and became a prominent physician.

Around 1885 a remedy was suggested to Given for chronic pain he had suffered for three years. He initially trusted neither the practitioner, nor the homeopathic cure which “seemed to be nothing more than loaf sugar and diluted moonshine.” The remedy, however, offered immediate relief. With circumspection, Given proceeded to study homeopathic therapies and to offer them to patients. He was eventually convinced of the efficacy of the treatments and became an enthusiastic disciple. Engineer, natural scientist, and Christian mystic Emanuel Swedenborg (1668–1772), whose followers are noted on the Novatians or Cathari branch on Given’s Ecclesiastical Chart, served as an influence to some of the leaders in the homeopathic movement of the nineteenth century. A principle of Homeopathy is that substances causing a particular symptom in a healthy person can be used to treat a similar symptom in one who is ailing.

Given was instrumental in the founding of the Southwestern Homœopathic College in Louisville. He acted as treasurer of the corporation and was on the faculty as Professor of Theory and Practice of Medicine. A textbook, The Practice of Medicine: A Text Book of Homœopathic Medicine by Given, was published in Louisville by Brewer’s Printing House in 1896, the year Given died.

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Given’s Ecclesiastical Chart