Autobiography and the Psychological Study of Religious Lives


This volume positions itself on the cutting edge of two fields in psychology that enjoy rapidly increasing attention: both the study of human lives and some core domains of such lives as religion and spirituality are high on the agenda of current research and teaching. Biographies and autobiographies are being approached in new ways and have become central to the study of human lives as an object of research and a preferred method for obtaining unique data about subjective human experiences. Ever since the beginning of the psychology of religion, autobiographies have also been pointed out as an important source of information about psychic processes involved in religiosity. In this volume, a number of leading theoreticians and researchers from Europe and the USA try to bring them back to this field by drawing on new insights and latest developments in psychological theory.

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Jacob A. Belzen is professor of psychology at the University of Amsterdam (The Netherlands). Antoon Geels is professor of history of religion at the University of Lund (Sweden).
Jacob A. BELZEN: Modern Means, Classic Goals: By Way of Introduction
Theoretical and Methodological Approaches
Jens BROCKMEIER: Lifetime and Eternity
Ulrike POPP-BAIER: Life Stories and Philosophies of Life: A Perspective for Research in Psychology of Religion
Barbara KELLER: Toward a Multidimensional Conception of Faith Development: Deconversion Narratives in Biographical Context
Antoon GEELS: The Night is the Mother of Day: Methodological Comments on Three Cases of Religious Visions as Suicide Prevention
Past and Present Religious Stories
Jacob A. BELZEN: Autobiography, Psychic Functioning and Mental Health: The Role of Religion in Personal Life
Keith HAARTMAN: Methodist Ritual Mourning and the Resolution of Traumatic Grief: The Case of Richard Moss
Mark FREEMAN: The Personal and Beyond: Simone Weil and the Necessity/Limits of Biography
Jeffrey KRIPAL: From Paradise to Paradox: The Psychospiritual Journey of John Heider
Different Religions, Different Cultures, Different Stories
Amia LIEBLICH: The Place of Religion in the Experience of War-Orphans as Constructed in their Life Stories
Dan P. MCADAMS and Michelle ALBAUGH: The Redemptive Self, Generativity, and American Christians at Midlife: Explorations of the Life Stories of Evangelical and Mainline Protestants
Melvin E. MILLER: Spirituality, Narrative, and Character: Two Priests on Paths to Spiritual Maturity and Integrity in Late Life
Jürgen STRAUB and Maik ARNOLD: Acting as Missionaries: The Religious Self in Intercultural Practice: An Approach from Action Theory and Cultural Psychology
Ruthellen JOSSELSON: Reflections of a Narrative Researcher
Notes on contributors