Society of Biblical Literature

The Cultic Origins of Christianity: The Dynamics of Religious Development

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Meissner, W. W. (2000). The Cultic Origins of Christianity: The Dynamics of Religious Development. Collegeville, MN: The Liturgical Press.

This book is not about the biblical text, but illuminates the background in which the New Testament texts developed. Meissner, a Jesuit and psychoanalyst, examines the psychodynamics which enabled the formation of the early Christian community. He describes what he calls the “paranoid process,” a complex of psychic mechanisms and defenses that serve the protection of identity and the formation of distinct communities, and describes how this process helped shape early Christianity.
(DAK)

This book was featured at a session of the Psychology and Biblical Studies Section at the Annual Meeting of the SBL in Toronto in November, 2002.

RBL review

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