Society of Biblical Literature

A violent God-image: an introduction to the work of Eugen Drewermann

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Beier, Matthias. (2004). A violent God-image: an introduction to the work of Eugen Drewermann. New York: Continuum.

Matthias Beier’s A Violent God-Image: An Introduction to the Work of Eugen Drewermann (New York: Continuum, 2004) is the first full-length volume in English on the thought of Eugen Drewermann, the most prolific theological writer in the German language over the past twenty years. Eugen Drewermann’s work is of special interest to biblical scholars as the first comprehensive application in the twentieth century of psychoanalytic insight (in some instances also of biology, physics and cosmology) to a wide range of biblical texts, as well as to the fields of moral theology and ecclesiology.

Drewermann was ordained as a Roman Catholic priest, but because of his unorthodox approach, he was, like Hans Küng, challenged by the church, banned from teaching and the priesthood. His literary output is prodigious. Since 1971, he has written more than seventy books. Several are of special interest to biblical scholars, e.g. Tiefenpsychologie und Exegese (Depth Psychology and Exegesis) (1984). The sub-titles of the two massive volumes list a rich roster of biblical literary genres: “dreams, myth, fairy tale, saga and legend” in volume one, and “miracle, vision, wisdom saying, apocalypse, history and parable” in volume two. Drewermann has also completed three two-volume sets of commentaries on the Gospel of Mark (1990), Matthew (1992) and most recently John (2003), written from a psychoanalytic perspective. Biblical scholars will be especially interested in the genesis of Drewermann’s interest in psychological hermeneutics from his attempt to understand how “a nation [ like Germany] steeped in Christianity could be swept way by the destructive ideology of Nazism.\” and how that Nazism might have been nourished within the haunts of church and scripture.
(Wayne G. Rollins)

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