Delusion - Faith - Fiction. The Pathology of Deviant Religiosity in Medical, Religious and Literary Discourse since 1800.
In order to shed light on Modernity’s discourse about the pathology of deviant religiosity, this dissertation focusses on three topoi: Marian apparition, the imitation of Christ and religiously motivated homicide, all of which foregrounding the problematic differentiation between “sound” faith and religious delusion. The dissertation does not only ask how medical, religious and literary knowledge about the pathology of deviant religiosity was being produced, received and adopted. It also analyses its constitution. The assignment of religious deviancy to medical discourse in the 19th century was reflected manifoldly in literary and religious texts, as the dissertation will show. Various interrelations between real cases, medical and religious texts as well as literary and cinematic fiction (relations that are not only unidirectional) are being explored. Also, the poetic construction and simultaneous subversion of religious mania as fiction will be examined as a metaleptic figure of thought.