What is it like to be a Muslim possessed by a jinn spirit? How do you find refuge
from madness and evil spirits in a place like Denmark? As elsewhere in
Europe and North America, Danish Muslims have become hypervisible through
intensive state monitoring, surveillance, and media coverage. Yet their religion
remains poorly understood and is frequently identified by politicians,
commentators, and even healthcare specialists as the underlying invisible cause
of ‘integration problems’. Over several years Christian Suhr followed
Muslim patients being treated in a Danish mosque and in a psychiatric hospital.
With this book and award-winning film he provides a unique account of the
invisible dynamics of possession and psychosis, and an analysis of how the
bodies and souls of Muslim patients are shaped by the conflicting demands of
Islam and the psychiatric institutions of European nation-states. The book
reveals how both psychiatric and Islamic healing work not only to produce relief
from pain, but also entail an ethical transformation of the patient and the
cultivation of religious and secular values through the experience of pain.
Creatively exploring the analytic possibilities provided by the use of a camera,
both text and film show how disruptive ritual techniques are used in healing to
destabilise individual perceptions and experiences of agency, so as to allow
patients to submit to the invisible powers of psychotropic medicine or God.
The soundscape of Ingmar Bergman’s Smiles of a Summer Night
the same musical techniques in the flagellant scene of his next film,
The Seventh Seal (1957), also underlining oscillations
between faithanddoubt—but in that case through the lens of
Though Bergson’s theories help understand how music
functions in Smiles of a Summer Night , the fact remains that the
film treads a fine line between tragedy and comedy. As aptly put by
Frank Gado, ‘Bergman’s best comedy reads the human
condition as dismally as his most pessimistic films.’ 46
This collection of essays examines the place of ‘saints’ and sanctity in nineteenth-century Britain. It argues that holy men and women were pivotal in religious discourse, as subjects of veneration and inter-confessional contention. Protestants were as fascinated by such figures as Catholics were. Long after the mechanisms of canonization had disappeared, they continued not only to engage with the saints of the past but continued to make their own saints in all but name. Just as strikingly, it claims that devotional practices and language were not the property of orthodox Christians alone. Even in an age of confessional strife, doubt and secularisation, devotional practices and language remained central to how both Christians and their opponents reflected on that changing world. Making and remaking saints is significant, then, because until now no-one has explored how sainthood remained significant in this period both as an enduring institution and as a fruitful metaphor that could be transposed into unexpected contexts. Each of the chapters in this volume focuses on the reception of a particular individual or group. Together they will attract not just historians of religion, but those concerned with material culture, the cult of history, and with the reshaping of British identities in an age of faith and doubt
by the general, rather than the particular, world of the spiritual or
But the dilemma is that, despite this urge away from particular
dogmaticism, the Irish writer, in representing a culture in which the
religious has been so pervasive, can hardly be expected to avoid the
terminology of the religious. This problem was addressed interestingly,
if not entirely satisfactorily, by John F. Deane in the introduction to his
valuable anthology Irish Poetry of FaithandDoubt: The Cold Heaven.8
Deane says that his material is:
poetry that has sprung from a
Holocaust survivors, over 20 years after the end of the war. 23
The Holocaust pivotally shaped Jewish thought. 24 Brenner’s seminal study of Holocaust survivors living in Israel analysed faithanddoubt during and after the Holocaust. It focused on how survivors made sense of two questions: why did God allow the Holocaust to happen to His chosen people without intervening? And how do we live with this knowledge?
Brenner’s study stands out in presenting detailed testimonies as well as quantitative data about the ebb and flow of Jewish faith and practice in response to
Jews as Europeans in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries
Venice, 1550-1670 , Oxford, 1983 , p. 117. For further debate on this
subject, see Edwards, ‘Religious faithanddoubt in late
medieval Spain: Soria circa 1450-1500’, Past and
Present , 120, 1988 , pp. 4-5 and ‘Why the Spanish
Inquisition?’, Studies in Church History , XXIX, 1992 , pp.
word. Ben Astley, in his 1998 article
‘“Somewhere Between FaithandDoubt”: R. S. Thomas and the Poetry
of Theology Deconstructed’, sees this ‘breaking open’ of language as a
manifestation in Thomas’s work of ‘Derridean deconstruction’ in which
‘the free-play of the sign destroys any attempt to reduce or restrict the
associations of the sign’ (77). While this seems true, it should be noted
that in the discourse of the via negativa the word becomes an approximation, often more accurate in its cataloguing of what a thing, in this
case deity, is not, rather than of what
Victorian schoolchildren looking for references to Tarshish, Tyre and Ophir would find them in Rider Haggard's 1885 adventure novel King Solomon’s Mines , but they were designed to give a sense of the exotic rather than to bolster belief.
Like much current work on nineteenth-century religion, this chapter has sought to nuance received assumptions about the direction of cultural and intellectual travel. On the one hand it shares the scepticism of recent work towards the now tired paradigm of ‘faithanddoubt’ that takes
dead of both sides are interred together and the bravery of one side is
commemorated by the other. Emblematically it foreshadows the famous
closing lines from Wilfred Owen’s poem, Strange Meeting:
‘I am the enemy you killed, my friend.
I knew you in this dark; for so you frowned
Yesterday through me as you jabbed and killed.
I parried; but my hands were loath and cold.
Let us sleep now …’11
Faithanddoubt: The ambiguity of war memorial symbolism
Owen himself was killed just one week before the end of the war, also in
an action that involved a canal – the
perspective, viewing medieval religion as a
mixture of intolerance and superstition. The structure and politics of
the Church and conflicts between Christianity and Islam in films about
the crusades often form the background of medieval movies in general.
But in many medieval noir films, personal faithanddoubt and its
testing are very much the central themes and also determine the progress
of the plot and