Patrick Vandermeersch

Patrick Vandermeersch

Patrick Vandermeersch (°1946) studied philosophy and theology and was trained as a psychoanalyst. After his PhD on the concept of the unconscious in Freud and Jung (1974), he became professor of ethics at the Catholic University of Louvain (Leuven). Inspired by Foucault, his research focused on the ethics of psychiatry and the history of sexuality (1978-1992). Then he became full professor of psychology of religion at the Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies of the University of Groningen (1992-2008). His main point of interest became the multiplicity of psychological dimensions involved in the psychological act we call `believing’ and the various ways religion and ethics can interact. He put the narcissistic, aggressive and sadomasochistic aspects of religious life to the fore. In this context, the religious ritual of flagellation, became an important part of his research. He retired in 2008.
His most important books: Unresolved Questions in the Freud/Jung Debate. On Psychosis, Sexual Identity and Religion, (Louvain Philosophical Studies 4) Leuven, Leuven University Press, 1991, 304 pp. and La chair de la Passion. Une histoire de foi : la flagellation, (Passages) Paris, Cerf, 2002, 280 pp (Spanish transl.: Carne de la Pasión. Flagelantes y disciplinantes: contexto histórico-psychológico, (Colección Estructuras y Procesos. Serie: Religión) Madrid, Trotta, 2004, 348 pp.