Society of Biblical Literature


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Religious Thought and the Modern Psychologies

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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The enemy is within : a Jungian psychoanalytic approach to the book of Judith

Efthimiadis-Keith, Helen. (2004). The enemy is within : a Jungian psychoanalytic approach to the book of Judith. Boston: Brill.

This is an amazing work of psychological criticism from a Jungian viewpoint. Efthimiadis-Keith combines Jungian theory with a critical method developed by Terence Dawson which seeks to identify the key psychological concern of a text in order to examine the book of Judith. From a psychological perspective, she suggests that many of the aspects of the book which have puzzled interpreters (historical inaccuracies, literary imbalance, and the ambivalent character of Judith herself) have, in fact, a clear psychological function.

Her reading of the book as an individuation dream of the Jewish people in the early first century is fascinating in itself. Yet even more interesting is her critique of Jungian theory, most notably in the area of the “animus,” a section of Jung’s system that he himself did not develop all that well. The book is long (over 400 pages), but worth the effort.
(DAK)

RBL review

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My name is Legion: the story and soul of the Gerasene demoniac

Newheart, Michael Willett. (2004). My name is Legion: the story and soul of the Gerasene demoniac. Collegeville, MN: The Liturgical Press.

Writing for the Interfaces series, designed to introduce non-professionals to methods in biblical study, Michael Willett Newheart uses a combination of narrative criticism, psychological biblical criticism and his own “soul hermeneutic” to explore the story of the Gadarene demoniac in Mark. Psychological approaches include Freud, Jung, Rene Girard and Fritz Fanon. See the more extensive reviews by Kamila Blessing and D. Andrew Kille at the Review of Biblical Literature. (DAK)

RBL review

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The Human Being: Jesus and the Enigma of the Son of the Man

Wink, W. (2002). The Human Being: Jesus and the Enigma of the Son of the Man. Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg Fortress.

Wink’s meticulous exploration of the image of “the Son of the Man” in the synoptic gospels draws extensively on the insights of C.G. Jung, especially as elaborated by Elizabeth Howes in relation to the historical Jesus. Wink argues that the search for the historical Jesus can be a means of reflecting back to ourselves the nature of full Humanity.
(DAK)


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Psychological Biblical Criticism

Kille, D. Andrew (2001). Psychological Biblical Criticism. Minneapolis: Fortress Press.

Part of the “Guides to Old Testament Scholarship” series, this volume offers a brief introduction to psychological biblical criticism in general and a specific investigation of interpretations of Genesis 3 from the perspectives of Freudian, Jungian, and developmental psychologies. Using a model of adequate interpretation drawn from the work of Paul Ricoueur, the book evaluates each of the approaches and suggests directions for future work.
(DAK)

This book was featured in a session of the Psychology and Biblical Studies Section at the SBL Annual Meeting in Denver in November 2001.

RBL review

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Word and Soul: A Psychological, Literary, and Cultural Reading of the Fourth Gospel

Newheart, M. W. (2001). Word and Soul: A Psychological, Literary, and Cultural Reading of the Fourth Gospel. Collegeville, MN: The Liturgical Press.

Michael Willett Newheart continues his development of his “Soul Hermeneutic,” a form of amplification which is part literary, part psychological, part reader-response criticism. From the book jacket: “This `soul reading’ of the Gospel is influenced by three elements: analytical/archetypal psychology, which reorients psychology to `the study of the soul’; African-American cultural experience, which is often characterized as `soul’; and reader-response criticism, which emphasizes that the reading of a text is shaped by the reader’s psychological and social location.”
(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.

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The Myth of the Historical Jesus and the Evolution of Consciousness

Childs, H. (2000). The Myth of the Historical Jesus and the Evolution of Consciousness. Atlanta, GA: Society of Biblical Literature.

In this published dissertation Childs examines the psychological dynamics of the images of Jesus emerging from the contemporary “Third Quest for the Historical Jesus,” especially the phenomenon of projection. Using the examples of John Dominic Crossan and C. G. Jung, Childs outlines what the implications of projection may be for hermeneutics.
(DAK)

This book was featured in a session of the Psychology and Biblical Studies Section at the Annual Meeting in Nashville in November 2000.

RBL review