Demonic Possession and Exorcism in Early Modern France

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Psychology Press, 2004 - History - 227 pages
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This is a highly original study of demon possession and the ritual of exorcism, both of which were rife in early modern times, and which reached epidemic proportions in France.

Catholics at the time believed that the Devil was everywhere present, in the rise of the heretics, in the activities of witches, and even in the bodies of pious young women. The rite of exorcism was intended to heal the possessed and show the power of the Church - but it generated as many problems as it resolved. Possessed nuns endured frequently violent exorcisms, exorcists were suspected of conjuring devils, and possession itself came to be seen as a form of holiness, elevating several women to the status of living saints.

Sarah Ferber offers a challenging study of one of the most intriguing phenomena of early modern Europe. Looking towards the present day, the book also argues that early modern conflicts over the Devil still carry an unexpected force and significance for Western Christianity.

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Scepticism and Catholic reform Introductory remarks
Into the realm of the senses Nicole Obry and the Miracle of Laon
Marthe Brossier
Part II
Priestcraft and witchcraft Introductory remarks
The trial of Louis Gaufridy AixenProvence 160911
Fighting fire with fire? Exorcism against ecstasy Louviers 164254
Part III
Ecstasy possession witchcraft The will to hierarchy
Gods witches Two possessed women
Selected bibliography

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Page 198 - Discover'd in the History of the Devils of Loudun: Being an Account of the Pretended Possession of the Ursuline Nuns, and of the Condemnation and Punishment of Urban Grandier a Parson of the same Town.
Page 206 - Quelques considérations sur le Niemand et . . . Personne", en: Folie et Déraison á la Renaissance, Travaux de l'Institut pour l'étude de la Renaissance et de l'Humanisme, Colloque international (nov.1973), Bruxelles, Éditions de l'Université de Bruxelles, 1976, pp.

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About the author (2004)

Sarah Ferber is Lecturer in History at the University of Queensland, Australia. She teaches early modern history, and the history of modern bioethics.

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