Believe Not Every Spirit: Possession, Mysticism, and Discernment in Early Modern Catholicism
  • Alternative view 1 of Believe Not Every Spirit: Possession, Mysticism, and Discernment in Early Modern Catholicism
  • Alternative view 2 of Believe Not Every Spirit: Possession, Mysticism, and Discernment in Early Modern Catholicism

Believe Not Every Spirit: Possession, Mysticism, and Discernment in Early Modern Catholicism

by Moshe Sluhovsky
     
 

ISBN-10: 0226762823

ISBN-13: 9780226762821

Pub. Date: 03/15/2007

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

From 1400 through 1700, the number of reports of demonic possessions among European women was extraordinarily high. During the same period, a new type of mysticism—popular with women—emerged that greatly affected the risk of possession and, as a result, the practice of exorcism. Many feared that in moments of rapture, women, who had surrendered their

Overview

From 1400 through 1700, the number of reports of demonic possessions among European women was extraordinarily high. During the same period, a new type of mysticism—popular with women—emerged that greatly affected the risk of possession and, as a result, the practice of exorcism. Many feared that in moments of rapture, women, who had surrendered their souls to divine love, were not experiencing the work of angels, but rather the ravages of demons in disguise. So how then, asks Moshe Sluhovsky, were practitioners of exorcism to distinguish demonic from divine possessions?

Drawing on unexplored accounts of mystical schools and spiritual techniques, testimonies of the possessed, and exorcism manuals, Believe Not Every Spirit examines how early modern Europeans dealt with this dilemma. The personal experiences of practitioners, Sluhovsky shows, trumped theological knowledge. Worried that this could lead to a rejection of Catholic rituals, the church reshaped the meaning and practices of exorcism, transforming this healing rite into a means of spiritual interrogation. In its efforts to distinguish between good and evil, the church developed important new explanatory frameworks for the relations between body and soul, interiority and exteriority, and the natural and supernatural.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780226762821
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
Publication date:
03/15/2007
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
384
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.10(d)

Table of Contents

Contents

Acknowledgements ix
Introduction 1

PART ONE: POSSESSION AND EXORCISM

1: Trivializing Possession
2: The Prevalence of Mundane Practice
3: From Praxis to Prescribed Ritual

PART TWO: MYSTICISM

4: La Spiritualité à la Mode
5: Contemplation, Possession, and Sexual Misconduct

PART THREE: DISCERNMENT

6: Anatomy of the Soul
7: Discerning Women

PART FOUR: INTERSECTIONS

8: The Devil in the Convent
9: Conclusions

Notes
Bibliography
Index

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >