Health and salvation. Illness as the social visibility of evil: experiences of immanence and transcendence
This study, which is due to gain the appropriate empirical and theoretical investigations, tries to outline the relationships between the experience of illness and the religious experience (which has to be read in a wide but specific meaning). These connections, which has already been studied in an anthropological and psychological area, might now needs to be placed in a contemporary social and cultural setting. It’s the cultural and symbolic cosmos that, for almost two decades now, has been marked as New Age or, maybe more properly, the phenomenon of the birth and development of the New Religious Movements. The incessant proliferation of New Religions gives birth to different forms of participation that are frequently mediated by a particular attention to the health care or to healing techniques. The health care (or its contrary, the therapies of healing from illnesses), brings about contents and religious representations which place themselves in a dialectic relation with the medical doctrines and the traditions of the major historical religions. Starting from this problem of religion sociology, we’ve tried to build some “central points” which could characterize the phenomenon, points which brings into play new, but at the same time very ancient, representations of the transcendence and immanence of the divine. In this sense, this study gets back, and tries to investigate, a subject which has already entered the historical, sociological and philosophical debate, that is the “return” of gnosticism.