Society of Biblical Literature

Religious Thought and the Modern Psychologies

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Browning, Don S. and Cooper, Terry. D. (2004). Religious Thought and the Modern Psychologies, 2nd edition. Minneapolis: Fortress.

In this important work, Browning & Cooper convincingly argue that the modern psychologies (Freud, Rogers/Maslow/Perls, Skinner, Jung, Erikson/Kohut, Ellis/Beck/Bowen) “transcend themselves” by their implicit assumptions regarding ethics and the nature of the universe. The hermeneutic philosophy of Heidegger, Gadamer, and especially Ricoeur, supply Browning and Cooper with the framework in which to challenge the scientific objectivity of the psychologies. They effectively demonstrate that the “images of obligation” and “metaphors of ultimacy” in these psychologies function as religious myths that can be helpfully compared with and critiqued by a Christian anthropology largely informed by Reinhold Niebuhr and William James. The result is an interesting, philosophically informed, theologically nuanced, and at times arrogantly argued, moral evaluation of the modern psychologies.
(Paul Fisher)

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