Society of Biblical Literature

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Psybibs Sessions for San Antonio SBL updated

The Psychology and Biblical Studies Section sessions at the SBL Annual Meeting have now been updated with meeting room information. The sessions will include:

  • DMT and the Soul of Prophecy Review Session
  • Neighbors, Strangers, and Enemies: Loving the Other in the Bible
  • Cris de Coeur: Despair in the Bible

For fuller listings of sessions, with participants, times, and locations, see the 2016 San Antonio page.

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‘For She Has Heard’

For She Has Heard‘For She Has Heard’: The Standing Stone in Joshua 24 and the Development of a Covenant Symbol

Elizabeth Berne DeGear

[from the publisher’s description]

In this unusual and fascinating study, Elizabeth Berne DeGear draws on both biblical studies and psychoanalytic theory to interpret the role of the standing stone erected by Joshua in the sanctuary at Shechem.

The presence of a listening stone in the sanctuary distinguishes the ritual space in Joshua 24, yet this religious symbol has received little scholarly attention. DeGear begins with the question: What is this numinous feminine presence serving as witness to the people’s covenantal relationship with their God? Comparing this stone’s function with the function of other covenant stones in the Hebrew Bible and throughout the ancient Near East, DeGear illuminates both the power of the symbol and its dynamics in the people’s religious development.

In psychoanalytic mode, DeGear goes on to show how humans create and use symbols differently at various positions along the path to maturity. Her study presents a new perspective on how covenant symbols in the Hebrew Bible function in the development of the communities using them.

The present analysis of this one biblical symbol offers scholars and students of biblical and religious studies the tools to engage in psychologically informed consideration of covenant. With its focus on sanctuary, symbol and psyche, DeGear’s exploration of the stone extends from the world of ancient Israel to today’s worship communities, where the Bible itself is used as a covenant symbol. What emerges is a picture of how the standing stone and other mediating symbols function in the religion of communities in the Bible and beyond.

Elizabeth Berne DeGear is an interdisciplinary scholar teaching in the fields of biblical studies and depth psychology. She is a chaplain for the Center for Urban Community Services in New York City. She presented at the Psychology and Biblical Studies Section sessions in Atlanta in 2010 and San Francisco in 2011.

Psybibs


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Psybibs sessions for SBL Annual Meeting 2016

The Society of Biblical Literature Annual Meeting this year will be held in San Antonio, Texas, November 19-22, 2016.

Psychology and Biblical Studies Section sessions will include:

  • DMT and the Soul of Prophecy Review Session
  • Neighbors, Strangers, and Enemies: Loving the Other in the Bible
  • Cris de Coeur: Despair in the Bible

For fuller listings of sessions, with participants, times, and locations, see the 2016 San Antonio page. Links to paper drafts will be added as they become available.

For more information about the SBL Annual meeting, including registration, see the SBL website.

psybibs.call4papers.fw


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Call for Papers: SBL Annual Meeting, November 2016

Psychology and Biblical Studies Section

Society of Biblical Literature
2016 Annual Meeting
November 19 – 22, 2016
San Antonio, TX

Call For Papers Closes: March 2, 2016

Call For Papers: We always welcome proposals for papers that address Biblical texts, themes, figures and/or readers using the concepts and interpretive tools of any field of psychology. We urge the use of the original Greek, Hebrew, or Aramaic, especially when the argument of your paper rests on the meanings of specific words or phrases.

We also welcome any papers that highlight methods, models, and approaches in the interface between psychology and Biblical studies, including from the emerging fields of neurotheology, brain physiology and religious experience, and evolutionary psychology.

This year, we are calling for papers on the theme of “Neighbors, Strangers, and Enemies: Loving the Other in the Bible.” Jesus called Leviticus 19:18’s command to “love your neighbor as yourself” the greatest commandment, along with loving God. Freud called it impossible to fulfill. Leviticus also commands the Jews to love “the stranger” as yourself (Lev 19:34), and Jesus entreats his followers to “love your enemies and do good to them that hate you” (Matt 5:44). Today, the prospect of loving the stranger and the enemy may seem even more psychologically impossible than the neighbor, yet in many ways these three commands make up the core of the Bible’s moral calling. We invite papers that examine the psychological functions and conflicts that arise out of these commands to love the Others in our midst.

Program Unit Chairs

Barbara Mei Leung Lai
Dereck M. Daschke

For full information or to propose a paper for the Program Unit, go to the Society of Biblical Literature site.


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Donald Capps dies at 76

Donald Capps

Donald Capps

Donald Capps, retired Professor of Pastoral Theology at Princeton and a former member of the Psychology and Biblical Studies steering committee died August 26, 2015 from injuries suffered in a traffic accident.

Capps was a significant figure in the development of Pastoral Theology, and wrote many books in the field, including two of particular note for psychological biblical criticism: Jesus, A Psychological Biography (Chalice, 2000) and Jesus the Village Psychiatrist (Westminster John Knox, 2008). The former book was reviewed in a Psychology and Biblical Studies session in 2000.

He served as President of the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion from 1990-1992, and was book review editor for the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 1980-1983 and 1983-1988. He began at Princeton in 1981, retired as professor emeritus in 2009, but continued to teach as an adjunct.

Read more at Planet Princeton.

Atlanta, GA


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Psybibs sessions for SBL Annual Meeting 2015

The Society of Biblical Literature Annual Meeting this year will be held in Atlanta, Georgia, November 21-24, 2015.

Psychology and Biblical Studies Section sessions will include:

  • Biblical Selves in Public and Private
  • Bible and the Brain

For fuller listings of sessions, with participants, times, and locations, see the 2015 Atlanta page. Links to paper drafts will be added as they become available.

For more information about the SBL Annual meeting, including registration, see the SBL website.


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International SBL July 20-24, 2015

The International Society of Biblical Literature meets in Buenos Aires this coming July 20-24. For more information and registration, see the SBL website.

One of the program units that has offered sessions each year is Psychological Hermeneutics of Biblical Themes and Texts. This years sessions include:

Theme: More Widely Applicable Interpretive Approaches

Tuesday, July 21, 4:00 – 5:30 pm

Heather McKay, Edge Hill University, Presiding

Hendrik Viviers, University of Johannesburg
Natural Retreats and Human Well-being:
Reading the Song of Songs through the Lens of Attention Restoration Theory

Working within the field of environmental psychology, Rachel and Stephen Kaplan developed their Attention Restoration Theory to address the problem of directed attention fatigue. ‘Involuntary’ attention can put the voluntary or directed attention mechanism at rest. This happens markedly (but not solely) within natural settings that are both wild (e.g. reserves) and domesticated (e.g. gardens). Cognitive depletion becomes substituted with cognitive restoration and leads to a replenished state of mind so as to function effectively. Notions such as ‘being away,’ ‘“soft” fascination,’ ‘extent’ and ‘compatibility’ aptly describe the human:nature relationship, and function as descriptive properties that natural settings require to enhance the restorative experience. Shining the light of these insights onto the Song of Songs, it will be determined if this ancient book had an (intuitive) appreciation for nature’s healing/restorative powers. The focus will especially be on the natural retreats that the two young lovers more than often avail themselves of (e.g. 1:15-17; 2:8 ff.; 6:2; 6:11-12; 7:11-13; 8:5; 8:13-14). Do these retreats (unknowingly) comply with the requirements of restoration? Do the wild places, open and cultivated fields, gardens, etc., pictured in the Song, meet the properties of being away, fascination, extent and compatibility?

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