Sacred pain

The use of self-inflicted pain in religion

Authored by: Ariel Glucklich

The Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Pain

Print publication date:  June  2017
Online publication date:  July  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138823181
eBook ISBN: 9781315742205
Adobe ISBN:

10.4324/9781315742205.ch23

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Abstract

Pain presents itself to religious individuals, and to sacred traditions, as a matter of great interest. But the religious concern with pain differs in dramatic ways from that of the patient and the doctor. For, while some patients turn to religion for counseling to alleviate their suffering, many others eye pain through a spiritual lens and develop a great interest in, and even attraction to, pain. Indeed, the religious life, considered historically through thousands of written documents, or by direct observation today, evaluates pain in a variety of positive ways.

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