The “Cruel” Death of William James

  • Tadd Ruetenik


The last days of James are interpreted pessimistically in order to counter, although not discount, the usually optimistic way in which his experience with psychical research is understood. The work of Christian missionaries provides a helpful account of demon possession, showing that the devil is found in the persecution itself. The Deuteronomic prohibitions against the demonic are considered along with the prohibition against the Unpardonable Sin in the Gospels, showing how engagement with the demonic has to require both suspicion and openness. The work of literary theorist René Girard is used to argue that the name of the principal demon for Christianity should be Violent Sacrifice, which operates when the Many acts as the One.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tadd Ruetenik
    • 1
  1. 1.Saint Ambrose UniversityDavenportUSA

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