Sign or Symptom?
Exceptional Corporeal Phenomena in Religion and Medicine in the 19th and 20th Centuries
Described as 'the hand of God', as ‘pathological’ or even as ‘a clever trick’, exceptional corporeal phenomena such as miraculous cures, stigmata, and incorrupt corpses have triggered heated debates in the past. Depending on their definition as either ‘supernatural’, ‘psycho-somatic’ or ‘fraudulent’, different authorities have sought to explain these enigmatic occurrences by stimulating inquiries and claiming jurisdiction over them. As a consequence, separate ecclesiastic and medical forms of expertise emerged on these issues in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. This incommensurability has since echoed in historical analyses of paranormal events. In this book the emphasis is not placed solely on the debates within one or the other epistemological system (science or religion), but also on the crossovers and collaborations between them. Religion and science developed through a process of interaction. A changing religious climate and new religious currents provided new cases for study. Religious phenomena inspired new medical approaches such as the healing power of faith. New medical findings could be adopted to oppose new messiahs and medical imagery came to inspire the campaigns of opponents of aberrant of religious currents. Sign or Symptom? explores how the evolutions within religion and science influenced each other, a productive interaction that has been hidden from view until now.
Ellen Amster (McMaster University), Nicole Edelman (Universite de Paris-Ouest-Nanterre), Maria Heidegger (Universitat Innsbruck), Mary Heimann (Cardiff University), Paula Kane (University of Pittsburgh), Sofie Lachapelle (University of Guelph), Tiago Pires Marques (Universidade de Coimbra), Tine Van Osselaer (Universiteit Antwerpen)
Henk de de Smaele
Henk de Smaele is associate professor of history and member of the research unit Power in History: Centre for Political History at Universiteit Antwerpen.