German Narratives of Women's Divine and Demonic Possession and Supernatural Vision 1555-1800: A Bibliography Jeannine Blackwell Introduction Possession: the use of a human body by supernatural forces, divine or demonic, to display a message for the chastisement, edification, and inspiration of others. Since recorded history, possession has included a range of physical symptoms, behaviors, and speech patterns that marked the possessed one as an outsider, possibly the vessel of God or the devil (Walker 5-7; Kieckhefer). The possessed writhed on their beds; contorted their limbs; ate needles, pieces of iron, and knives; vomited them up again; sweated blood; spoke in tongues; invented spontaneous songs, sermons, and exhortations; spewed curses at enemies of God or the devil; fell into death-like trances; and displayed superhuman strength. They spoke, chanted, and screamed words given them by an interior god or devil. They had visions of delight and horror. The stories of women's divine and demonic possession from the early modern era might not at first blush provide core texts for today's feminist scholars. Scholarly reservations about a feminist reading of possession are numerous and well-founded. To begin with, women certainly were not the only ones who fell into possession, although in
Women in German Yearbook: Feminist Studies in German Literature & Culture – University of Nebraska Press
Published: Oct 13, 2000
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