The origin of religious flagellation in contrast with the 19th-century medical and psychiatric views on its sexual meaning


University of Groningen, Akerkstraat 23, 9712 BD Groningen, The Netherlands
Tel. 050-3185980, Fax. 050-3636200


Conducting a research on contemporary practices on religious flagellation, and having experienced the curiosity usually raised by the topic, I have been surprised by the scant attention paid to it in 19th century medical and sexological literature. In what is nevertheless said, the sexual element is stressed and some anecdotes are constantly repeated.

The establishment of a brotherhood of penitents by the French king Henry III in the 16th century, is one of them. In this lecture, a brief overview will be given of the history of the practice of flagellation and on what the sources teach us about this particular brotherhood. Then, special attention will be given to the emergence sexual theme since the eighteenth century.


Panel 5A   (Shock)
Wednesday, 15 September 1999

The Neurosciences and Psychiatry: Crossing the Boundaries

Joint Congress of the European Association for the History of Psychiatry (EAHP), the European Club for the History of Neurology (ECHN), and the International Society for the History of the Neurosciences (ISHN)

Zurich and Lausanne, Switzerland, 13-18 September 1999