Download Believe Not Every Spirit: Possession, Mysticism, & by Moshe Sluhovsky PDF

By Moshe Sluhovsky

From 1400 via 1700, the variety of experiences of demonic possessions between eu ladies was once terribly excessive. in the course of the related interval, a brand new kind of mysticism—popular with women—emerged that significantly affected the chance 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 fairly the ravages of demons in cover. So how then, asks Moshe Sluhovsky, have been practitioners of exorcism to tell apart demonic from divine possessions?

Drawing on unexplored debts of mystical colleges and non secular concepts, stories of the possessed, and exorcism manuals, think no longer each Spirit examines how early sleek Europeans handled this problem. the non-public stories of practitioners, Sluhovsky indicates, trumped theological wisdom. nervous that this might bring about a rejection of Catholic rituals, the church reshaped the which means and practices of exorcism, reworking this therapeutic ceremony right into a technique of non secular interrogation. In its efforts to differentiate among sturdy and evil, the church built very important new explanatory frameworks for the family members among physique and soul, interiority and exteriority, and the usual and supernatural.

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Extra resources for Believe Not Every Spirit: Possession, Mysticism, & Discernment in Early Modern Catholicism

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Diabolic possession, then, was far from being a stable category. Its expansion in the early modern era to include possessions of the soul necessitated rethinking and expanding the meaning of exorcism, the development of new discerning methods and new exorcismal techniques. These interrelated processes are at the very center of this book. But let us first look at the traditional mechanism that was available for the expulsion of possession demons, namely, exorcism. * 2 * The Prevalence of a Mundane Practice The previous chapter argued that demonic possession was common and ordinary in early modern Europe, and that multiple understandings and configurations of diabolic possession existed in late medieval and early modern Europe.

These two changes created a new style of writing about possession. 13 Adrien de Montalembert’s narrative of the possession of Anthoinette de Grollee by the spirit of Alis de Tissieur was an early example of ingenious use of the media revolution of the sixteenth century. His thirty-two-page long booklet was published merely a few weeks after the event (le xve jour d’octobre l’an 1528). For Montalembert, the exorcism was more than just a healing rite. It was a demonstration of a much larger Trivializing Possession r 23 event, the cosmic struggle between the powers of good and evil and between Catholicism and Lutheranism.

It was a demonstration of a much larger Trivializing Possession r 23 event, the cosmic struggle between the powers of good and evil and between Catholicism and Lutheranism. Anthoinette’s possessed body acquired a new meaning. No longer merely a body in pain, it became a text, a record of the Christian mythology itself. 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.

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