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Article

Феномен экзорцизма в католицизме: религиоведческий анализ

This article demonstrates the complexity and ambiguity of such religious phenomena as obsession and exorcism. It argues that they need to be extracted from a purely theological consideration into the domain of religious studies. The article studies the modern controversy over individual cases of exorcism and their theological reception, then it gives a classifi cation of approaches to the study and interpretation of exorcism and obsession. Five approaches are distinguished, i.e. theological, revealing, psychological, sociological, and performative. From the comparison of these approaches, it is obvious that there is no scientifi c consensus as to the assessment of the phenomena in question. To understand the nature of exorcism, the article refers to its genesis and development, highlighting several stages. At the initial stage, the practice of exorcism takes place in preparation for baptism in the Latin Church. In the Middle Ages, this practice comes to oblivion and does not interest serious theologians. At the Council of Trent takes place a stabilisation of the rite of exorcism; from a pre-baptismal practice that can be administered by any clerics it becomes a privilege of priests. The Council also regulates the need for control as to the real obsession and justifi es the publicity of exorcism. After the Council, the famous “Rituale Romanum” was composed, which records the canonical form of the ritual. The next two hundred years are characterised by a new decline in exorcism as a result of rationalistic criticism and scandals caused by cases of mass obsession. In the 19th and 20th centuries comes the third stage in the history of exorcism, which is now connected with esoteric mythology. Thanks to the medicalisation of the discourse of obsession, catholic priests are beginning to look for legitimation of the practice of exorcism in the fi eld of parapsychological and spiritual research. The article concludes that for many centuries the understanding of exorcism included theological ideas of early Catholicism, magical beliefs of medieval Europe, theological disputes of Protestantism and Catholicism, medical discourse of the 19th century, esoteric mythology of satanism and spiritualism, parapsychology, and clichés of media culture.