Sacred Pain: Hurting the Body for the Sake of the Soul

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9780195169430: Sacred Pain: Hurting the Body for the Sake of the Soul

Why would anyone seek out the very experience the rest of us most wish to avoid? Why would religious worshipers flog or crucify themselves, sleep on spikes, hang suspended by their flesh, or walk for miles through scorching deserts with bare and bloodied feet?
In this insightful new book, Ariel Glucklich argues that the experience of ritual pain, far from being a form of a madness or superstition, contains a hidden rationality and can bring about a profound transformation of the consciousness and identity of the spiritual seeker. Steering a course between purely cultural and purely biological explanations, Glucklich approaches sacred pain from the perspective of the practitioner to fully examine the psychological and spiritual effects of self-hurting. He discusses the scientific understanding of pain, drawing on research in fields such as neuropsychology and neurology. He also ranges over a broad spectrum of historical and cultural contexts, showing the many ways mystics, saints, pilgrims, mourners, shamans, Taoists, Muslims, Hindus, Native Americans, and indeed members of virtually every religion have used pain to achieve a greater identification with God. He examines how pain has served as a punishment for sin, a cure for disease, a weapon against the body and its desires, or a means by which the ego may be transcended and spiritual sickness healed. "When pain transgresses the limits," the Muslim mystic Mizra Asadullah Ghalib is quoted as saying, "it becomes medicine."
Based on extensive research and written with both empathy and critical insight, Sacred Pain explores the uncharted inner terrain of self-hurting and reveals how meaningful suffering has been used to heal the human spirit.

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About the Author:


Ariel Glucklich is Associate Professor of Theology at Georgetown University and the author of The End of Magic (OUP 1997) and The Sense of Adharma (OUP 1994).

Review:


"Succeeds not only because of the immense and careful scholarship it displays, but also because it establishes a creative dialogue between science and religion on a question of enduring, and today largely forgotten, importance. Most of all, the book invites its readers to appreciate that pain need not be meaningless."--Stephen G. Post, First Things


"Erudite and wide-ranging...compelling.... This fascinating, closely argued study suggests that in religion as in sports, there is no gain without pain."--Publishers Weekly (starred review)


"This demanding book does justice to the complexity of its subject as Glucklich masterfully leads the reader through all the diverse paths that connect with the central topic. He is a skilled writer who presents complicated material well without sacrificing meaning or nuance."--Library Journal


"A brilliantly written, thought-provoking volume on the transformative potential of physical pain experienced within a religious context."--Harold G. Koenig, M.D., co-author, Handbook of Religion and Health


"Ariel Glucklich is that rare being, a genuine comparativist, of cosmopolitan learning and wide sympathies. Drawing upon such diverse approaches as neurobiology, social psychology, ritual studies, cultural theory, phenomenology, and history of religion, he succeeds in shedding light on the darkest reaches of the seemingly chaotic realm of pain. Glucklich reminds us of all-but-forgotten insights into the transformative power of sacred pain, brings these insights into dialogue with the best thinking that is being done in the behavioral and biological sciences, and in so doing forges new instruments for the study of religious consciousness."--Carol Zaleski, Professor and Chair, Department of Religion, Smith College


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Ariel Glucklich
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Descripción Oxford University Press Inc, United States, 2003. Paperback. Estado de conservación: New. Language: English . Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****.Physical pain ranks as one of the great evils of human life, not far behind death. Yet, religious individuals and groups around the world and throughout history have inflicted pain on themselves and on others in pursuit of religious goals. Despite this, no broad explanation for the uses of pain has emerged, and this book seeks to remedy this lack. Glucklich shows that a ritually controlled regimen of pain can produce a transformation of consciousness in which personal identity gives way to identification with God, Truth, or other spiritual ideals. This phenomenon is explored in many cultural and historical contexts, including rituals of possession and exorcism, rites of passage, and the tortures of the Inquisition. Glucklich also shows how the modern invention of anaesthesia transformed our perception of pain and undermined the idea that pain can be good. This book helps us to understand sacred pain from the perspective of its practitioners, opening a window onto a mysterious world of experience. Nº de ref. de la librería AAV9780195169430

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Ariel Glucklich
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Descripción Oxford University Press Inc, United States, 2003. Paperback. Estado de conservación: New. Language: English . Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****. Physical pain ranks as one of the great evils of human life, not far behind death. Yet, religious individuals and groups around the world and throughout history have inflicted pain on themselves and on others in pursuit of religious goals. Despite this, no broad explanation for the uses of pain has emerged, and this book seeks to remedy this lack. Glucklich shows that a ritually controlled regimen of pain can produce a transformation of consciousness in which personal identity gives way to identification with God, Truth, or other spiritual ideals. This phenomenon is explored in many cultural and historical contexts, including rituals of possession and exorcism, rites of passage, and the tortures of the Inquisition. Glucklich also shows how the modern invention of anaesthesia transformed our perception of pain and undermined the idea that pain can be good. This book helps us to understand sacred pain from the perspective of its practitioners, opening a window onto a mysterious world of experience. Nº de ref. de la librería AAV9780195169430

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