New PDF release: Believe Not Every Spirit: Possession, Mysticism, &

By Moshe Sluhovsky

From 1400 via 1700, the variety of studies of demonic possessions between ecu ladies used to be terribly excessive. throughout the related interval, a brand new kind of mysticism—popular with women—emerged that tremendously affected the danger of ownership and, consequently, the perform of exorcism. Many feared that during moments of rapture, ladies, who had surrendered their souls to divine love, weren't experiencing the paintings of angels, yet quite the ravages of demons in cover. So how then, asks Moshe Sluhovsky, have been practitioners of exorcism to differentiate demonic from divine possessions?

Drawing on unexplored bills of mystical faculties and non secular recommendations, tales of the possessed, and exorcism manuals, think now not each Spirit examines how early glossy Europeans handled this issue. the private stories of practitioners, Sluhovsky indicates, trumped theological wisdom. apprehensive that this is able to result in a rejection of Catholic rituals, the church reshaped the that means and practices of exorcism, reworking this therapeutic ceremony right into a technique of religious interrogation. In its efforts to differentiate among sturdy and evil, the church constructed very important new explanatory frameworks for the kinfolk among physique and soul, interiority and exteriority, and the ordinary and supernatural.

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Additional info for Believe Not Every Spirit: Possession, Mysticism, & Discernment in Early Modern Catholicism

Example text

The possession was no longer an ephemeral occurrence, but a historical event of immense importance, an eschatological sign of the growing danger of heresy, while the exorcism was a reassuring demonstration of divine mercy. 14 Montalembert titled his description of the exorcism The Marvellous History of the Spirit that just a short time ago appeared in the Convent of Saint-Pierre de Lyon. Similar titles became standard in the sixteenth century. Versions of Nicole Obry’s possession and dispossession were titled The Treasure and Entire History of the Triumphant Victory of the Lord’s Body; The Abridged History of the Grand Miracle by Our Savior in the Holy Sacrament of the Eucharist; and The History of the Sacred Victory .

But Satan, too, could afflict individuals, alone or through his malevolent collaborators (witches), and bring about what looked like a natural illness. As a result, both lay and ecclesiastical exorcists often cooperated with physicians in diagnosing supernatural and preternatural causes of affliction and in suggesting remedies. Physicians often admitted that a diagnosis of a specific illness was beyond their expertise and was likely to be demonic, while theologians and church exorcists welcomed physicians’ opinions (and in fact many church guidelines mandated such intervention).

The exorcist-cum-demon conducts an exorcismal rite that is also a marriage ceremony between himself and the demon that possesses Isabela. The two lovers then reveal their simulations, but the 40 r chapter two marriage is canonical and cannot be undone. 15 These two tales present the set of issues at the focus of this section. They present lay exorcists and simulating demoniacs; they warn of clerical exorcists and of their tendency to abuse female clients; and, significantly, they do not take exorcism too seriously.

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