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«ROBERT F. MULLEN HOLY STIGMATA, ANOREXIA AND SELF-MUTILATION: PARALLELS IN PAIN AND IMAGINING Robert F. Mullen Philosophy and Religion Program, ...»

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As Scarry explains “If a person standing in a field imagines [her]self to be instead standing by the sea, [she] has (in imagining) brought about a large alteration in the world, displacing the whole physically “given” context with an invented one.”80 How this imagining provides relevancy to the religious stigmatic is obvious. In similar fashion, Glucklich reminds us that “such activities (cutting) unmake the human self in order to connect with a higher level of being, a transcendental reality.”81 The Christian religious have had a written tradition of biblical text for approximately 2600 years if we begin around the Babylonian captivity of the Israelites. Proverbs 20:30 tells us that “The blueness of a wound cleanseth away evil: so do stripes the inward parts of the belly.” Through the textual symbolism of the patriarchs and the prophets, one is repeatedly acculturated to scenes of wounding that offer emphatic assurance about the “realness” of God, even though there is no sensorial absolute, no one that contains anything that makes his “realness” visible except the wounded human body.82 The woundings themselves are the only visible affirmations of God’s realness and herein described ambiguities can lead to disbelief. Such are the perils of faith. Jesus Christ’s sacrifice on the cross is the epitome of wounding, physically, emotionally, and metaphysically. For the stigmatic to be Journal for the Study of Religions and Ideologies, 8, 25 (Spring 2010) Robert F. Mullen Holy Stigmata, Anorexia and Self-Mutilation nurtured by Jesus, for her impoverished self to be enriched by a newness of being, then she must possess the embodied nature of torn skin, akin to the painful wounds of Jesus, which is the ultimate sacrifice, the absolute break from the nothingness of the former numbness of the invisible self.

Wounding to heal is both the cutter’s and the stigmatic’s way of coping.83 “What we have to point out here is the unutterableness of what has been genuinely experienced, and how such an experience may pass into blissful excitement, rapture, and exaltation verging often on the bizarre and the abnormal.”84 “When the soul is naughted and transformed, then of herself she neither works nor speaks nor wills, nor feels nor hears nor understands; neither has she of herself the feeling of outward or inward, where she may move. And in all things it is God who rules and guides her, without the meditation of any creature.... And she is so full of peace that thought she pressed her flesh, her nerves, her bones, no other thing come forth from them than peace.” 85 References Bell, Rudolph M. Holy Anorexia. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1985.

Bloch. R. Howard. “Medieval Misogyny.” Representation (1987): 1-24.

Bynun, Caroline Walker. Fragmentation and Redemption: Essays on Gender and the Human Body in Medieval Religion. New York: Zone Books, 1991.

Catherine of Genoa. 2007. “St. Catherine of Genoa, stigmatic.” “Quotations Book.” http://quotationsbook.com/author/1385 Cooey, Paula M. “Experience, Body, and Authority. The Harvard Theological Review.

82/3 (1989): 325-342.

Durkheim, Emile. 1915. The Elementary Forms of the Religious Life. New York: The Free Press, 1951.

Eliade, Mircea. The Myth of the Eternal Return. New York: Penguin Books, 1954.

Eliade, Mircea. Shamanism. Archaic Techniques of Ecstasy. Princeton & Oxford:

Princeton University Press, 1951.

Fessler, Daniel M. T. “Starvation, Serotonin, and Symbolism. A Psychobiological

Perspective on Stigmata.” Mind and Society 3/2 (2002): 81-96:

Glucklich, Ariel.“Sacred Pain and the Phenomenal Self.” The Harvard Theological Review. 91/4 (1998): 389-412.

–  –  –

Guucklich, Ariel. “Self and Sacrifice: A Phenomenological Psychology of Sacred Pain.” The Harvard Theological Review 92/4 (1999): 479-506.

James, William. The Varieties of Religious Experience. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1977.

Lewis, I.M. Ecstatic Religion: An Anthropological Study of Spirit Possession and Shamanism. Middlesex, England: Penguin Books, 1971.

Littlewood, Roland & Geoffredo, Bartocci. “Religious Stigmata, Magnetic Fluids and Conversion Hysteria: One Survival of ‘Vital Force’ Theories in Scientific Medicine. Transcultural Psychiatry 42 (2005): 596-609.

Littleton, C. Scott. “An Emic Account of Sorcery: Carlos Castaneda and the Rise of a New Anthropology”. Journal of Latin American Lore 2 (1976): 145-155.

McLane, Janice. 1966 (Autumn). “The Voice on the Skin: Self-Mutilation and Merleau-Ponty’s Theory of Language.” Hypatia 11/4. (1966) 107-118.

The Original Catholic Encyclopedia. Article: Nihil Obstat, “Mystical Stigmata, treatment of the mythical phenomena of stigmata,” by Nihil Obstat, Webpage copyright 1907. http://oce.catholic.com/index.php?title=Mystical_Stigmata Otto, Rudolf. The Idea of the Holy. London, New York: Oxford University Press, 1977.

Rao, Rameshwari. 2006. “Wounding to Heal: The Role of the Body in Self-Cutting.

Qualitative Research in Psychology. 3 (2006): 45-58.

Scarry, Elaine. The Body in Pain: the Making and Unmaking of the World. New York:

Oxford University Press, 1985.

Streng, Frederick J. Understanding Religious Life. Second Edition. Encino, California:





Dickenson Publishing Company, Inc.,1984.

Straker, Gillian.“Signing with a Scar. Understanding Self-Harm.” Psychoanalytic Dialogues 16.I (2006): 93-111.

Tracy, David. “On the Origins of Philosophy of Religion: The Need for a New Narrative of Its Founding,” in Myths and Philosophy, ed. Frank Reynolds and David Tracy. (Albany, N.Y.: State University of New York Press (1990), 11-36.

Wagner, J. A. “Self-Injury, sexual self-concept, and spiritual development:

Insights, interactions, and implications for college-aged females.” PhD diss., Regent University, 2008 Yücel, Basak, Emre Kiziltan, and Melih Aktan. “Dissociative Identity Disorder Presenting with Psychogenic Purpura.” Psychosomatics. 41 (2000): 279-281.

–  –  –

Yaryura-Tobias, Jose A., Fugen A. Neziroglu and Steven Kaplan. 1995. “SelfMutilation, Anorexia, and Dysmenorrhea in Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.” International Journal of Eating Disorders 17/1 (1995): 33-38.

Images:

Petechiae. 2004 Calicut Nandy U,Varughese GI,Iqbal N,Vellore AD,Payne MD “A rare complication of treatment following coronary stenting” Calicut Medical Journal 2004;2(3):e2 www.calicutmedicaljournal.org/2004/2/3/e2/ Pupura. Courtesy of http://www/clinicadam.com/salud/6/19834 Ecchymoses. Petecchia and ecchymoses.”courtesy of www.medscape.com/.../artm1711.08.fig2.jpg.

Notes:

A brief poem written by a female self-mutilator, transcribed by Amy Sharpe in an untitled article in “The Cutting Edge. A Newsletter for Women living with Self-Inflicted Violence,” from “The Voice on the Skin: Self-Mutilation and Merlou-Ponty’s Theory of Language” by Janice Miller, Hypatia. 11/4 (1966) 113.

Ariel Glucklich, “Self and Sacrifice: A Phenomenological Psychology of Sacred Pain,” The Harvard Theological Review 92 (1999): 482.

Ariel Glucklich. “Sacred Pain and the Phenomenal Self,” The Harvard Theological Review 91 (1998): 162.

Emile Durkheim, The Elementary Forms of the Religious Life (New York: The Free Press 1915), 27.

William James, The Varieties of Religious Experience (New York, Simon and Shuster, 1977), 56.

Glucklich, “Sacred Pain the Phenomenal Self,” 47.

Roland Littlewood and Geofreddo Bartocci, “Religious Stigmata. Magnetic Fluids and Conversion Hysteria: One Survival of ‘Vital Force’ Theories in Scientific Medicine?” Transcultural Psychiatry 42 (2005): 197 Daniel M.T. Fessler. “Starvation, Serotonin, and Symbolism. A Psychobiological Perspective on Stigmata.” Mind and Society, 3/2 (2002): 15-16.

Nihil Obstat, “Mystical Stigmata, treatment of the mythical phenomena of stigmata,” The Original Catholic Encyclopedia (1907), http://oce.catholic.com/index.php?title=Mystical_Stigmata.

Frederick J. Streng, Understanding Religious Life (Encino, CA: Dickenson Publishing Company, Inc., 1984), 2.

Paula M. Cooey, “Experience, Body, and Authority,” The Harvard Theological Review 83 (1989): 329.

David Tracy. “On the Origins of the Philosophy of Religion: The Need for a New Narrative

of Its Founding.” In Myths and Philosophy, ed. Frank Reynolds and David Tracy (Albany, N.Y.:

State University Press, 1990): 14.

Glucklich, “Self and Sacrifice,” 483.

Rudolph M. Bell, Holy Anorexia (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1985), 157.

Gilian Straker, “Signing with a Scar: Understanding Self-Harm,” Psychoanalytic Dialogues 16.1(2006): 106.

Rameshwari Rao, “Wounding to Heal: The Role of the Body in Self-Cutting,” Qualitative Research in Psychology 3 (2006): 50.

Fessler, 12.

Journal for the Study of Religions and Ideologies, 8, 25 (Spring 2010) Robert F. Mullen Holy Stigmata, Anorexia and Self-Mutilation Obstat, 2.

Caroline Walker Bynum, “Fragmentation and Redemption, Essays on Gender and the Human Body in Medieval Religion,” (New York: Zone Books, 1991), 102.

Fessler, 15.

Glucklich, “Self and Sacrifice,” 480.

Jose A Yaryura-Tobias et al.”Self-Mutilation, Anorexia, and Dysmenorrhea in Obsessive Compulsive Order,” International Journal of Eating Disorders 17 (1995): 33.

Bynum, 132.

Basak Yucel et al, “Dissociative Identity Disorder Presenting with Psychogenic Purpura,” Psychomatics 41, (2000): 279.

Fessler, 13.

Yaryura-Tobia et al, 36. The article also cites evidence in a quotation from “Wrist Cutting Syndrome: the Meaning of a Gesture,” by from R. Rosenthal, C Rinzler, R Wallsh, and E Klausner, American Journal of Psychiatry, 128 (1972): 1363-68. Quoting their abstract: “The phenomenon of repeated wrist cutting young women, performed in a nonsuicidal manner, was observed through the use of a control group. Histories revealed a significant incidence of early physical illness and surgery and markedly abnormal patterns of menstruation. The subjects interviewed immediately after cutting described an inability to deal with specific feelings, leading to a state of depersonalization. They cut themselves in an effort to reintegrate, and seemed to know exactly what was necessary to accomplish this: seeing a certain amount of blood, feeling a degree of pain, or being able to look inside the gaping wound. The authors relate the wrist-cutting gestures to genital conflict, reactions to helplessness, and an inability to handle aggression.” Bell, 1.

Bell, 21.

Bell, 19-20.

Mercea Eliade, The Myth of The Eternal Return (New York: Penguin Books, 1954), 56.

Mercea Eliade, Shamanism, Archaic Techniques of Ecstasy (Princeton, Princeton University Press, 2005), 84.

Eliade, “Shamanism,” 127.

I. M. Lewis, Ecstatic Religion: An Anthropological Study of Spirit Possession and Shamanism, (Middlesex, England: Penguin Books, 1971), 30.

Fessler, 6-7.

J.A. Wagner, “Self-injury, sexual self-concept, and spiritual development: Insights, interactions and implications for college-aged females” (PhD diss., Regent University, 2008), 95.

Glucklich, Self and Sacrifice,” 47.

Fessler,16.

Glucklich, “Sacred Pain and the Phenomenal Self,” 409.

Bynum, 51.

Howard R. Block. “Medieval Misogyny,” Representations, (1987): 144.

Fessler, 15 Bynum, 140, 154.

Straker, 99.

Rao, 49.

Rao, 52.

Streng, 2.

Straker, 104.

Fessler, 5.

Yaryura et al, 67.

Fessler, 12, 13.

Glucklich, “Self and Sacrifice,” 493.

Fessler, 8.

Journal for the Study of Religions and Ideologies, 8, 25 (Spring 2010) Robert F. Mullen Holy Stigmata, Anorexia and Self-Mutilation William James, The Varieties of Religious Experiences (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1977), 15.

Straker, 98.

Elaine Scarry, The Body in Pain: the Making and Unmaking of the World (New York: Oxford University Press, 1985), 297.

Scarry, 297.

Glucklich, “Self and Sacrifice, 497.

Fessler, 8, 9.

On page 7, Fessler cites a 1973 article by Shalom Robinson, MD, and Heinrich Z. Winnik, MD, who conducted a study of ten patients in Jerusalem whose weight ranged between 50 to 106 kg and who showed severe mental disturbances after rapid self-induced weight reduction, so severe as to necessitate hospitalization of all but one. It is suggested by the article that this weight reduction may have been antecedent to the mental symptoms.

Rao, 50.

Rao, 80.

Glucklich, “Self and Sacrifice,” 501.

Janice McLane, “The Voice on the Skin: Self-Mutilation and Merleau Ponty’s Theory of Language,” Hypatia 11/4 (1966): 116.

Fessler, 13.

Bynum, 195.

Bynum, 85.

McClane 113.

Glucklich, “Self and Sacrifice,” 482.

Scott C. Littleton, “An Emic Account of Sorcery: Carlos Castaneda and the Rise of a New Anthropology,” Journal of American Lore 2 (1976), 150.

Glucklich, “Self and Sacrifice,” 502.

Glucklich, “Self and Sacrifice,” 502.

Straker, 98.

McLane, 112.

Glucklich, “Self and Sacrifice,” 502.

Cooey, 329.

Rao, 50.

Glucklich, “Sacred Pain and the Phenomenal Self,” 397.

Rao, 53.

Scarry, 205.

Scarry, 171.

Glucklich, “Self and Sacrifice,” 502.

Scarry, 200.

Rao, 45.

Rudolf Otto, The Idea of the Holy (London: Oxford University Press, 1997), 37.

Catherine of Genoa, “St. Catherine of Genoa quotes,” Quotations Book http://quotationsbook.com/author/1385/ (accessed 4/29/09).

Journal for the Study of Religions and Ideologies, 8, 25 (Spring 2010)



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