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Thou Old Serpent!

James Butler, 10 March 2022

The Penguin Book of Exorcisms 
edited by Joseph P. Laycock.
Penguin, 336 pp., £12.99, September 2021, 978 0 14 313547 0
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... gathers 37 accounts from ancient Assyria to the 21st-century United States. In his introduction, Joseph Laycock remarks on the common incidence of exorcism across cultures: it is nearly as ubiquitous as the belief in spirits itself. The phenomena addressed by exorcism vary, and so do the means by which it is attempted. Sometimes possession is closely ...
... Jewish-Christians who rejected the Pauline Epistles and thought that Jesus was the human son of Joseph and Mary until his baptism, when the Holy Spirit lighted on him. The passage reads: ‘So the ascetic Ebionites used to turn towards Jerusalem when they prayed. Paul made a note of it. Quite right to suppress them.’ He had even less use for ...

Gentlemen’s Spleen

Mikkel Borch-Jacobsen: Hysterical Men, 27 August 2009

Hysterical Men: The Hidden History of Male Nervous Illness 
by Mark Micale.
Harvard, 366 pp., £19.95, December 2008, 978 0 674 03166 1
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... thereby confirming them. This was the position maintained, notably, by Hippolyte Bernheim and Joseph Delboeuf, who reproached their colleague Charcot for having unwittingly fabricated (‘suggested’) the grande hystérie that Freud observed at the Salpêtrière. Start theorising male hysteria and suddenly you have an avalanche of male hysterics; stop ...

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