Edição Atual Edições Anteriores Adicione aos Favoritos Defina como página inicial

Indique para um amigo

O Evangelho com
busca aleatória

Capa desta edição
Biblioteca Virtual
Livros Espíritas em Português Libros Espíritas en Español  Spiritist Books in English    
Mensagens na voz
de Chico Xavier
Programação da
TV Espírita on-line
Rádio Espírita
O Imortal
do Espiritismo
sem mestre
Divaldo Franco
Site oficial
Raul Teixeira
Site oficial
do Paraná
Associação de
do Brasil
Associação de
Cruzada dos
Links de sites
suas dúvidas
Quem somos
Fale Conosco

Interview Portuguese Spanish    
Year 8 - N° 392 - December 7, 2014
Juiz de Fora, MG (Brasil)
Leonardo Rocha - l.rocha1989@gmail.com

Marcelo Gulão Pimentel: 

“Any historian, either a Spiritist or not, must be committed
to telling the truth”

The author of a Master Degree dissertation on Allan Kardec talks
about the object of his research

Marcelo Gulão Pimentel (photo) was born in the city of Magé, in the Brazilian state of Rio de Janeiro, but has settled in Juiz de Fora, Minas Gerais state. He is a professor fof History and member of the Research Centre on Spirituality and Health (NUPES) at the Federal University of Juiz de Fora (UFJF). In this interview, he talks about his

dissertation, entitled “The Method of Allan Kardec for the Investigations of Mediumship Phenomena (1854-1869)”: 

What prompted you to being your research on the method adopted by Allan Kardec during the Codification of Spiritism? 

Firstly, it was the fact that Allan Kardec was a pioneer in the investigation of the phenomena as well as an influential intellectual who indirectly provided psychologists with new approaches on the human mind. Secondly, the fact that the method adopted by Allan Kardec for the Codification of Spiritism is still relatively unknown at university level, even though he is the most read French author in Brazil and Spiritism is the third largest religion in Brazil. Many theses and dissertations have been written about him and his work, but this aspect has been largely overlooked. 

Is it possible to make identify clearly a difference between the messages he received through the mediumship of others and Allan Kardec’s work? 

Yes. I see the messages received in trance, or through mediumship, as the raw material of his work. More than someone who organised the information, or codified Spiritism, Kardec was a pro-active researcher who made efforts to look for and analyse the information that would be in the core of Spiritism. His method is clear in the first 12 editions of The Spiritist Magazine. The mediums were seen as the means to get to empirical data about the Spirit World. To secure the credibility of the data collected, Kardec made efforts to widen his database. He contacted different mediums, from different parts of the world and who often did not know each other. As his research develop, he used a larger number of correspondents. When he began his work, he relied on the work of 13 mediums. In 1864, he was in contact with correspondents of a thousand Spiritist Centres. That was an important aspect of his work, as through a variety of accounts obtained through mediumship he created, developed and reassessed his views about the Spirit World. Kardec also emphasized the importance of describing and interpreting the messages received in trance, comparing differences and looking for similarities in his search for useful information for his theory. Kardec also referred to historical cases of mediumship and carried out fieldwork, travelling to meet mediums and places where the phenomena took place. Through the observation of the phenomena, Kardec discussed the main theories proposed at the time to explain spiritual and psychic experiences. Those theories are still discussed in modern Psychology and Medicine. 

How can Spiritists in academia conciliate their beliefs with the sceptical methods prevalent in most universities? 

It is important that those who are in academia, those who are sceptical and people with spiritual beliefs be able to distinguish the principles of science from its metaphysical principles. Spiritualism as a proposal is based on metaphysical principles, and so is materialism. Researchers must look into science as a method that demands rational investigation with an empirical base, free from dogmas and open to all forms of investigation. Yes, there are researchers and scientists who mix up science with metaphysical principles. But those who carry out serious research based on scientific rigour will always be welcome in academia. 

You went to France to collect information for your research. What did you find most interesting about that? 

I was impressed by the lack of information in France about Kardec and Spiritism. Even amongst French historians specialised in the XIX century there was not much information available. But thankfully I could rely on the help of many people, including Charles Kempf, Secretary-General of CEI, the International Spiritist Council. 

What is difference between the traditional scientific studies and those of Allan Kardec during the Codification of Spiritism? 

The positive sciences of the XIX century – notably Physics and Chemistry – emphasised the importance of experimentation in their studies. Kardec explained that Spiritism was not in the remit of science as its observations focused on an object (the Spirits) that could not be the object of experimentation as they were intelligent beings. Spirits could not be tested in a lab. Kardec highlighted that Spiritism was a science of observation. He made use of other tools for the observation of his object, such as the analysis of the content of the messages, comparison of messages attributed to the same Spirit and coming from different geographical areas, observation of similar phenomena in history etc. These methods are part of the methodology of areas of study now considered sciences, such as History, Sociology and Psychology.

What was the conclusion of your study, which was part of your Maters Degree at the Federal University of Juiz de Fora? 

The first conclusion is to state that Kardec deserves to be remembered as a French intellectual who carried out original and pioneering research about mediumship in the XIX century. He was an erudite professor, writer and member of many scientific societies who put all that background and knowledge to carry out a vast study of the psychic phenomena that began with the turning tables. He proposed an empirical and rational assessment for an issue that was, until then, labelled as metaphysical. Allan Kardec does not seem to have been a mere Codifier of Spiritism, someone who simply compiled the data available. He observed everything, using empirical methods, and attempted to “naturalise” the Spiritual dimension, to show that it was part of nature, ruled by natural laws that could be assessed from a scientific perspective. He used qualitative methods, checking whether bits of information were useful. He used a method that he called universal control of the information from the Spirits. You can also notice how he reassessed and changed his theories based on the empirical observation of the phenomena.  

What role do you think the Spiritist historian must have? 

I prefer to call it historian of Spiritism, as a Spiritist historian may prefer not to research Spiritism and a historian of Spiritism does not need to be a Spiritist. However, those who choose to study Spiritism must be committed to the scientific rigour demanded for any historical research. Even being a Spiritist, a historian must not overlook any aspect that could potentially be deemed and harmful to Spiritism. Any historian, Spiritist or not, must have a commitment with the truth and the facts. 

Thank you very much. Would like to say anything else to our readers? 

I thank you for this opportunity and would like to encourage other people to engage in serious, in depth studies of Spiritism. There is a vast field to be researched in this area by many disciplines.  


You may contact Marcelo Gulão Pimentel through email address


Back to previous page

O Consolador
Weekly Magazine of Spiritism