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The Self Possessed: Deity and Spirit Possession in South Asian Literature and Civilization
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The Self Possessed: Deity and Spirit Possession in South Asian Literature and Civilization

4.75  ·  Rating Details ·  8 Ratings  ·  2 Reviews
The Self Possessed is a multifaceted, diachronic study reconsidering the very nature of religion in South Asia, the culmination of years of intensive research. Frederick M. Smith proposes that positive oracular or ecstatic possession is the most common form of spiritual expression in India, and that it has been linguistically distinguished from negative, disease-producing ...more
Hardcover, 701 pages
Published November 1st 2006 by Columbia University Press
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Brian
Nov 27, 2015 Brian rated it really liked it
Smith has produced an exhaustive study of the semantics of possession in South Asia, drawing upon and comparing literary and ethnographic, lexical and descriptive evidence. The manifestations of possession he finds fall along a continuum from emotional absorption to deity embodiment to psychic transfer, all within the context of an implicit theory of the self as aggregate, unstable, and permeable.

This way of conceptualizing the person, which to some extent the very evidence of pervasive possessi
...more
Stuart
Jan 19, 2008 Stuart rated it it was amazing
This is an excellent overview of the phenomenon of possession in South Asia. By focusing on the cultural ontology he dramatically reassesses the nature of the self and the significance of spirit possession and psychic permeability in the Hindu tradition.
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