Society of Biblical Literature


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Psybibs Sessions at the 2012 SBL Annual Meeting in Chicago

Here are brief descriptions of the Psychology and Biblical Studies Section sessions planned for the upcoming Society of Biblical Literature meeting in November, 2012:

Reviews of Two Books

S17-125. Saturday, November 17, 9:00 -11:30 am
Room: E262 – McCormick Place

Barbara Leung Lai, Through The “I” Window

  • Panel: John Goldingay, Fuller Theological Seminary; D. Andrew Kille, BibleWorkbench; Wayne Rollins, Hartford Seminary; Barbara Leung Lai, Tyndale University College and Seminary

Kamila Blessing, Families of the Bible

  • Panel: J. Ellens, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor; Yolanda Dreyer, University of Pretoria; Kamila Blessing

Jacob, David and Jonah:
Psychological Perspectives on the Hebrew Scriptures

S17-239. Saturday, November 17, 1:00 – 3:30 pm
Room: N138 – McCormick Place

  • Patrick Higgiston, Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York
    Take Me to the River: The Transcendent Function in Genesis 32  
  • R. Robert Creech, George W. Truett Theological Seminary
    Family Systems 1000 BC: A Natural Systems Reading of the Davidic Narratives
  • Virginia Ingram, Murdoch University
    The kindness of irony: A psychological look at irony in 2 Samuel 11  
  • Marina C. Smith, Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York
    Contained by God: Jonah’s Unsuccessful Flight  
  • Dereck Daschke, Truman State University, Respondent

Psychological Reflections on Readers and Reading

S19-139. Monday, November 19, 9:00 – 11:30 am
Room: W474a – McCormick Place

  • Andrew Village, York Saint John University
    Literal, Anti-literal and Metaphorical interpretations of Genesis in relation to psychological type: a study of UK churchgoers 
  • Helen Efthimiadis-Keith, University of KwaZulu-Natal
    The psychological effects of selected texts from Ruth on a group of male and female (South) African university students/staff 
  • Tiffany Houck-Loomis, Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York
    People of the Covenant: Refiguring the Divine through Exile
  • Melanie Baffes, Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary
    Loving Self, Other, and God: A Reading of Matthew 15:21-28 Through the Lens of Psychoanalytic Theory
  • Jill McNish, Respondent
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The Destructive Power of Religion: Violence in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam

Ellens, J. Harold, editor, The Destructive Power of Religion: Violence in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. (Westport, Conn.: Praeger, 2007)

Destructive Power of ReligionDescription: Hailed in reviews as “unsettling but thought-provoking,” “compelling,” and “critical coverage,” the set from which these chapters were drawn has a core theme that demonstrates the three major religions share the ancient notion that history and the human soul are caught in a cosmic conflict between good and evil, or God and devil, which cannot be resolved without violence, a cataclysmic final solution such as the extermination of nations, the execution of humans, or even the death of God’s own son. As Archbishop Desmond Tutu wrote, “This is a groundbreaking work with tremendous insight.”

This is a one-volume edition condensed and updated from the four volume set of The Destructive Power of Religion.

Review of Biblical Literature


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Psychological Insight into the Bible: Texts and Readings

Rollins, Wayne G. and Kille, D. Andrew (Eds.). (2007) Psychological Insight into the Bible: Texts and Readings. Grand Rapids: Wm B. Eerdmans.

Psychological Insight into the Bible is a veritable exposition of the famous Abraham Heschel’s statement that `the Bible is less a theology for man than an anthropology for God.’ From all possible angles the book deals with the issue as spelled out in the title. What `insight’ does psychology bring to the understanding of the biblical text, of its background (or archaeological history), of its foreground (or teleological assimilation by its readers), of its impact on the `psyche’? Exploring this field from Aristotle to contemporary psychoanalysts and Bible scholars, via Freud, Jung, Winnicott, Frankl, Weber, Delitzsch, Wheeler Robinson and others, the book builds a compelling case for the immense richness of `insights’ that the psychological methodology offers to the exegete, and, reciprocally, biblical anthropology to the psychologist. This is an indispensable tool for students of the Bible and/or of psychology.”
(Andre LaCocque, Chicago Theological Seminary)

This book was featured in a session of the Psychology and Biblical Studies Section at the SBL Annual Meeting in Boston in November 2008.

RBL Review

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The Destructive Power of Religion

Ellens, J. H. (Ed.). (2004).
The Destructive Power of Religion
:
Violence in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam
.
Westport CT: Praeger-Greenwood.

This four-volume collection of essays from 30 contributors examines the relationship of violence and religion with particular reference to psychological dynamics. This work, edited by Hal Ellens, co-chair of the SBL Psychology and Biblical Studies section, includes contributions from Psybibs presenters Paul Anderson, Donald Capps, Charles (Tom) Davis, D. Andrew Kille, Michael Willett Newheart, Ilona Rashkow, Wayne Rollins, and Walter Wink, as well as Martin Marty, Jack Miles and Desmond Tutu.

This book was featured in a session of the Psychology and Biblical Studies Section at the SBL Annual Meeting in Philadelphia in November 2005.

Review of Biblical Literature


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Psychology and the Bible: A New Way to Read the Scriptures

Ellens, J. Harold, and Wayne G. Rollins, eds. (2004). Psychology and the Bible: A New Way to Read the Scriptures. Westport, CT: Greenwood-Praeger. (12/04)

A collection of essays in four volumes, many having their origins in the Psychology and Biblical Studies Section.

  • Vol 1: From Freud to Kohut;
  • Vol. 2: From Genesis to Apocalyptic Vision;
  • Vol. 3: From Gospel to Gnostics;
  • Vol. 4: From Christ to Jesus.

This book was featured in a session of the Psychology and Biblical Studies Section at the SBL Annual Meeting in Washington, DC in November 2006.

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Inner Worlds: A Cognitive Linguistic Approach to the Book of Jonah

Kamp, Albert (2004). Inner Worlds: A Cognitive Linguistic Approach to the Book of Jonah. Translated by David Orton. Leiden: Brill.

(From the publisher) In the dynamic interchange between authors, texts, and readers that occurs during the reading process, readers are stimulated by the author to create complex inner representations of the reality presented in a text. The cognitive linguistic approach outlined in the first part of Inner Worlds offers a set of analytical tools that can be instructively applied to the book of Jonah to examine how the text presents its own reality to the reader. Retranslated with an eye to the distinct nuances in the Hebrew, the text of Jonah reveals a range of suggestive dynamic patterns that show the irony of Jonah’s limited perspectives on his misfortunes compared with the transcendent perspective of a gracious God.

RBL review

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God, Biblical Studies and Psychoanalytic Understanding

Kessler, R. and Vandermeersch, P. (2001). God, Biblical Studies and Psychoanalytic Understanding. Frankfurt: Peter Lang.

This book is a collection of essays arising from an intensive program on psychoanalysis and the reading of religious texts which was held across Europe from 1996-2000 and sponsored by the European Union’s ERASMUS/SOCRATES program. The eleven essays cover a broad spectrum of issues; of most interest to psychological biblical criticism are essays by P. Vandermeersch (“Psychoanalytic Interpretations of Religious Texts: Some Basics” and “Looking Back at Sodom: Psychoanalysis and Diachronic Reading” R. Kessler (“Psychoanalysis as a Hermeneutical Tool: the Example of Ex. 4:24-26”); H. Raguse (“The Oedipus Complex in the Book of Esther”); and J. Carlander (“The Saul-David Story from a Kleinian Perspective.”). I especially recommend the articles by Vandermeersch. In his introductory article he demonstrates how psychoanalytic biblical criticism has matured since early efforts. His concluding reflection examines the reader’s response to the biblical text and suggests that historical-critical methods may have derived some of their appeal due to their effectiveness as defense mechanisms.
(DAK)