This book focuses on two main areas - first, the response of British Lubavitchers to misfortune generally and sickness, in particular and the role of their religious leader the Rebbe in this process; and second, their response to the illness and ultimate death of the Rebbe. It addresses a number of issues in contemporary social and medical anthropology: the social construction of the body, the power of words in ritual, the relation between myth and praxis, religious texts as a charter for healing and the relation between the use of biomedicine and symbolic healing. This book will be of interest to students of social anthropology, medical anthropology, medical sociology, millennialism, religious studies and students of contemporary Judaism.
Dr. Simon Dein is a Senior Lecturer in anthropology and medicine at University College London Medical School and holds a PhD in social anthropology. He is Honorary Consultant Psychiatrist at Princess Alexandra Hospital in Harlow, Essex. A joint editor for the journal, Mental Health, Religion and Culture, Dr. Dein has also published widely on religion and healing in
List of Illustrations; Foreword; Preface by Professor Roland Littlewood; Acknowledgements; Introduction; A Kabbalistic Primer; 1. The Origins of Hasidism and its Practices of Healing; 2. Words of Healing; 3. Ethnography of the Stamford Hill Community; 4. The Rebbe and His Miracles. The Power of Stories; 5. Body and Soul; 6. Words, Texts and Creation; 7. Pragmatic and Symbolic Healing; 8. Messianic Expectations in Stamford Hill; Conclusion; Notes; Glossary; Bibliography; Index