The Affliction of Martin

  • Thomas J. Csordas
Part of the Contemporary Anthropology of Religion book series (CAR)


To say that “the glass is half empty” or “half full” is to give an existential account of an objective circumstance: The level of fluid is at the midpoint in the glass. To say that an individual is afflicted by “demonic oppression” or “psychopathology” is to give a cultural account of an existential circumstance: A person is suffering. The methodological gulf between the two kinds of accounts is vast. One can appeal to the objective circumstance of fluid in the glass to understand the derivation of optimistic and pessimistic accounts, but how can one define an existential circumstance prior to the elaboration of a cultural account? Equally as important, if one were to develop such an existential language, would it be of value in understanding the cultural logic that distinguishes divergent cultural accounts?


Foster Parent Healing Minister Sexual Fantasy Body Odor Evil Spirit 
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© Thomas J. Csordas 2002

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  • Thomas J. Csordas

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