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Studies in the History of Psychology of Religion
Editor: Jacob A. Belzen
Psychology of religion has been enjoying considerable attention of late; the number of publications and people involved in the field is rapidly increasing. It is, however, one of the oldest branches within psychology in general, and one of the few in which an interdisciplinary approach has been kept alive and fostered. The fate of the field has been quite varied in the countries where psychology of religion has been initiated and developed during the 20th century. In this volume, some aspects of this international history are examined. Coming from six different Western countries, each of the contributors has a record in the historiography of psychology and profound knowledge of psychology of religion. Their approaches combine elements from the history of mentalities, the social history of science and biographical studies.
The volume contains in-depth treatments of such topics as the growth of the field as reflected in university politics, developments within international organizations, and the personal involvement of contributors to the field. A wealth of information is provided on the background of the work of well known psychologists of religion like James Henry Leuba, Oskar Pfister, Gordon Allport, Werner Gruehn, Antoine Vergote and others.
Proceedings of the third symposium on the psychology of religion in Europe
Comparative Perspectives
Publicly performed rituals and ceremonies form an essential part of medieval political practice and court culture. This applies not only to western feudal societies, but also to the linguistically and culturally highly diversified environment of Byzantium and the Mediterranean basin. The continuity of Roman traditions and cross-fertilization between various influences originating from Constantinople, Armenia, the Arab-Muslim World, and western kingdoms and naval powers provide the framework for a distinct sphere of ritual expression and ceremonial performance. This collective volume, placing Byzantium into a comparative perspective between East and West, examines transformative processes from Late Antiquity to the Middle Ages, succession procedures in different political contexts, phenomena of cross-cultural appropriation and exchange, and the representation of rituals in art and literature.
Contributors are Maria Kantirea, Martin Hinterberger, Walter Pohl, Andrew Marsham, Björn Weiler, Eric J. Hanne, Antonia Giannouli, Jo Van Steenbergen, Stefan Burkhardt, Ioanna Rapti, Jonathan Shepard, Panagiotis Agapitos, Henry Maguire, Christine Angelidi and Margaret Mullett.
Richard of St.Victor (d.1173) developed original ideas about the faculty of imagination in a twelfth-century Parisian context. Related to the historical study of philosophical psychology, Richard of St. Victor’s Theory of Imagination acknowledges that the faculty of imagination, being a necessary precondition for human reasoning and a link between soul and body, plays an important role in Richard’s understanding of the human soul. Richard also deals with the interpretation of biblical language, metaphors, rhetoric, and the possibility of creative imagination. Considering all these aspects of the imagination in Richard’s texts improves our understanding of his theological epistemology and sheds new light on the theory of the imagination in the history of medieval philosophy in general.
Analyzing the literature on art from the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, The Spiritual Language of Art explores the complex relationship between visual art and spiritual experiences during the Italian Renaissance. Though scholarly research on these writings has predominantly focused on the influence of classical literature, this study reveals that Renaissance authors consistently discussed art using terms, concepts and metaphors derived from spiritual literature. By examining these texts in the light of medieval sources, greater insight is gained on the spiritual nature of the artist’s process and the reception of art. Offering a close re-readings of many important writers (Alberti, Leonardo, Vasari, etc.), this study deepens our understanding of attitudes toward art and spirituality in the Italian Renaissance.

Editor: Jacob A. Belzen
Contemporary psychology is reviving with new vigor an interest in hermeneutics, or the human science of interpretation. After a period in which positivistic and statistical approaches have been dominant, new methods are being explored. Most of these focus on narrative, cultural analysis, embodiment and interdisciplinarity. Because of its specific object of study, psychology of religion has never been without an hermeneutical emphasis. In this field of psychology scholarship, these new directions are especially welcomed as they offer perspectives for research which attempts to interpret religion as a human phenomenon.
This volume presents hermeneutical psychological studies on religion which rely on both classical and contemporary approaches. Dealing with topics like mysticism, religious symbols, life stories and mental health, contributions to the volume draw on a variety of perspectives. These range from psychoanalysis, narrative psychology and feminism to perspectives drawn deep from the wellspring of interdisciplinary collaboration with anthropology and history.
Little discussed by psychoanalysts and almost unknown outside the profession, a small but distinguished group of psychoanalysts were or are mystics: Otto Rank, Erich Fromm, Marion Milner, D. W. Winnicott, Heinz Kohut, Hans W. Loewald, Wilfred R. Bion, James S. Grotstein, Neville Symington, and Michael Eigen. All favoured an extrovertive mysticism that perceives unity throughout physical reality. Several saw creativity as an application of mystical consciousness to the physical material of artwork, artefact, or, more generally, culture.
Vocabulaire et argumentation du discours coranique autoréférentiel
Dans Le Coran par lui-même, Anne-Sylvie Boisliveau livre une analyse passionnante de la manière dont le Coran est l’architecte de sa propre image. Loin d’être un texte sans relief, celui-ci utilise un vocabulaire, des procédés rhétoriques et une argumentation soigneusement choisis pour orienter l’image qu’auditeurs ou lecteurs se feront de lui.
Une analyse serrée du vocabulaire autoréférentiel montre que le Coran se décrit lui-même comme Ecriture « façon judéo-chrétienne » représentant un enjeu de communication. Mais surtout, par un triple discours – sur les actions divines, sur les Ecritures révélées antérieurement, telles la Bible, et sur la fonction prophétique –, le Coran se confère à lui-même le monopole de l’autorité issue de la révélation divine et pousse l’auditeur/lecteur à s’y soumettre.

In Le Coran par lui-même, Anne-Sylvie Boisliveau provides a ground-breaking analysis of the way the Qurʾān is the architect of its own image. Far from being a flat text, the Qurʾān uses carefully chosen vocabulary, rhetorical tools and argumentation to direct the image that listeners or readers will then have in mind. A close analysis of its self-referential vocabulary shows that the Qurʾān describes itself as a Scripture “in a Judeo-Christian style” which communicative function is stressed. By a triple discourse (on divine actions, on previous Scriptures such as the Bible and on prophethood), the Qurʾān grants itself the monopoly of divine authority through revelation and pushes the listener/reader into a decisive submission.

Winner of the I. R. Iran World Award for the Book of the Year 2014



In this volume we have brought together some of the most important contributions of Antoon Vergote to the field of what is now called 'clinical psychology of religion'. Most of these contributions were not published before in English. They cover the field in two ways. On the one hand we selected some articles in which Vergote reflects about the foundations of the (clinical) psychology of religion. This first part of the book is about the psychoanalytic and philosophical-anthropological approach of some major topics in the study of religion : e.g. mythical thinking and symbolisation, moral law and the idea of sin, religious experience... . In this part we also included a critical reflection about the classic psychoanalytic criticism of religion and about the epistemology and the limits of the psychology of religion. The second part, on the other hand, contains clinical-empirical and psycho-historical studies about concrete religious phenomena. The first section of this part is, amongst other topics, about the psychological approach of the person Jesus, about the psychological profile of the priest and, about some aspects of folk religiosity. The second section deals with problems in the field of mental health and religion : the differentiation of true and false mysticism, religion and psychopathology and a psychological approach of the experience of visions and apparitions.
This book focuses attention on the central elements of human religious existence. Vergote's primary aim and viewpoint are clear: to examine empirically and to interpret dynamically the psychological factors at work in the field of religion. Vergote consistently adheres to the position that psychology is neither philosophy nor theology and that its task is not to explain religion. In this work he situates religion as a cultural fact and studies how persons orient themselves to it, positively and/or negatively. Rather than emphasise and juxtapose belief and unbelief as alternative positions, he sees them as threads of experiences interwoven throughout the human existence of persons and institutions. In this context he studies motivations and their ambivalences, religious experiences and their ambiguities, conflicts between religious belief and unbelief, and the various expressions and practices of religion.