The chapter describes the historical background of the relationships between eating disorders and religious and symbolic idioms. Subsequently, the phenomenon termed “spiritual self-starvation�? and its linkage to asceticism is described in the context of religious beliefs and practices. The religious aspects of this phenomenon are further elaborated via three cases demonstrating the so-called “Jerusalem Syndrome.�? Accordingly, their extraordinary visit to Jerusalem has led them to induced fasting and voluntary refusal to eat in the context of sacredness, purification, and penance. The afflicted individuals perceive their distress in terms that construct a narrative integrating self-starvation into their religious and spiritual life. “Spiritual self-starvation�? in these cases exceeds the boundaries of religious devoutness to the extent of self-endangering psychotic attitudes and behaviors. The significance of Jerusalem as a unique sacred space where according to religious eschatology, great events are about to occur, may lead premorbidly vulnerable individuals to enactments that are reflected in their utilization of the holy space for personal salvation as well as for global redemption.
|Title of host publication||Bio-Psycho-Social Contributions to Understanding Eating Disorders|
|Publisher||Springer International Publishing|
|Number of pages||12|
|State||Published - 1 Jan 2016|
- Eating disorder
- Jerusalem syndrome