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.
The concept of secularization has grown to become one of the most important features of contemporary religious thought. This book introduces and examines the thinking of sixteen key theologions, philosophers and historians of religion to explain (a) why by the late nineteenth century the traditional concept of God as an ontologically real being came to be considered no longer necessary and (b) how the new perspective on God, which accepts him only as an idea, turned into the preferred approach of today’s religion and philosophy, namely “religious radicalism”.
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.
Fears and stories about an underground religion devoted to Satan, which demands and carries out child sacrifice, appeared in the United States in the late twentieth century and became the subject of media reports supported by some mental health professionals. Examining these modern fantasies leads us back to ancient stories which in some cases believers consider the height of religious devotion.
Horrifying ideas about human sacrifice, child sacrifice, and the offering to the gods of a beloved only son by his father appear repeatedly in Western traditions, starting with the Greeks and the Hebrews. In
Flesh and Blood: Interrogating Freud on Human Sacrifice, Real and Imagined, Beit-Hallahmi focuses on rituals of violence tied to religion, both imagined and real. The main focus of this work is the meaning of blood and ritual killing in the history of religion. The book examines the encounter with the idea of child sacrifice in the context of human hopes for salvation.