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The Night is the Mother of Day: Methodological Comments on Three Cases of Religious Visions as Suicide Prevention

  • Antoon Geels
  • Jacob A. Belzen
Publiceringsår: 2008
Språk: Engelska
Sidor: 95-114
Publikation/Tidskrift/Serie: Autobiography and the Psychological Study of Religious Lives
Volym: 15
Dokumenttyp: Del av eller Kapitel i bok
Förlag: Rodopi


During my thirty years in the academic field I have always been interested in biographical studies. The focus has been on significant experiences in the individual’s life, so-called turning points, peak experiences or other decisive and unforgettable moments. Was there a crisis of some kind? And, if this is the case,how did the person in question cope with this low point in his or her life? I learned that there appears to be a relation between life crisis and intensive religious experience, especially visionary and/or auditive impressions. In this paper I will present three short case studies of persons coming from different cultures and living in different times. The common denominator is that they all were on the verge of committing suicide. Only seconds prior to the selfdestructive act they were all saved by an all-absorbing vision, when time seemed to stand still. The main question I wish to answer is whether these visions can be regarded as similar at a process level, psychologically speaking. Persons and products usually do differ, while processes might be similar. Before presenting the three case studies I would like to give you some background to my earlier studies of religious lives. The chapter will be finished with a comment on some simple methodological principles I have learnt from them.


  • Philosophy, Ethics and Religion
  • religious visions
  • mystical experience
  • Autobiography
  • biography
  • methodology


  • ISBN: 978-90-420-2568-4

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