The chapters in this book are based on papers that were presented at the international conference Psychological Aspects of Biblical Concepts and Persons, 4–6 March 2002 in Amsterdam. The conference was organized by the Dutch Foundation for Psychiatry and Re- gion (in Dutch: Stichting Psychiatrie en Religie) a small, but active and lively organization, which organizes conferences and post-graduate education for mental health professionals and which offers a platform for interdisciplinary research and discussion in the field of mental health and religion. The organizers of the conference – Gerrit Glas, Herman M. van Praag, and Peter J. Verhagen – are m- bers of the board of the Foundation. All three are psychiatrists; two of them are also professionally occupied in another discipline: theology (Verhagen) and philosophy (Glas). The primary aim of the conference was to create a space for scientific dialogue between two disciplines with a troubled and complex relationship: psychiatry and theology. The exchange of opinions and viewpoints between specifically these two fields has dried up in the course of the past century and has virtually been absent from around 1960 till at least the early nineties of the previous century. I need to clarify that we were quite specific in isolating theology and psychiatry; instead of focusing on theology and psychology, or biblical studies and psychology, or theology and psychoanalysis. Psychology and psychoanalysis do not seem to have lost all contact with theology, at least not to such an extent as have psychiatry and theology.
Refined conceptual analysis of the interface between psychology and religion
Masterful analysis of biblical personalities, such as Job, Jeremiah, Paul, and Jesus
In-depth discussion of the concepts of prophecy, martyrdom, and messianism
Christian-Judaic (rabbinic) dialogue on biblical concepts and personalities
Search for new vocabularies to understand the transformative power of religion
This book’s aim is to enrich and deepen our psychological understanding of biblical concepts and personalities. Such understanding is relevant for theology as well as for psychology and psychiatry. It may help theologians to contextualize their discipline by bringing it into contact with contemporary psychological and existential issues and tensions, both at an individual and a societal level. It also encourages psychologists and psychiatrists to develop and refine their vocabularies when they try to comprehend the existential meaning of what is transmitted to them by their clients.
The book highlights the concepts of prophecy, martyrdom, and messianism from Christian and Judaic perspectives. Each concept offers one biblical figure as representative: Jeremiah, Paul, and Jesus, respectively. The sections on these three subjects and personalities are sandwiched between a section on historical and conceptual issues, and a section devoted to select interdisciplinary issues.
Biblical images of pain, anguish, suffering, hope, resentment, and awe are part of our cultural background and shape the way we understand our lives and sufferings. Biblical perspectives on human existence, on the other hand, differ in some important respects from modernist conceptions that prevail in psychotherapy and psychiatry. The book investigates the possibility of a theological criticism on common frameworks of psychological and psychiatric understanding of the inner world of the client. It also offers new ways to understand the ‘transformative’ power of religion.
Contributing Authors. Preface. Acknowledgements. Part I: Historical and Conceptual Issues. 1. Introduction to Historical and Conceptual Issues; G. Glas. 2. Psychiatry and Religion. An Unconsummated Marriage; H. van Praag. 3. Biblical Narratives as History: Biblical Persons as Objects of Historical Faith; C.S. Evans. Part II: Prophecy: Theological and Psychological Aspects. 4. Introduction to Prophecy: Theological and Psychological Aspects; G. Glas. 5. The Dynamics of Prophecy in the Writings of Abraham Joshua Heschel; N. Gillman. 6. The Prophets as Persons; B. Becking. 7. Jeremiah Interpreted: A Rabbinic Analysis of the Prophet; B. J. Levy. Part III: Martyrdom: Theological and Psychological Aspects. 8. Introduction to Martyrdom: Theological and Psychological Aspects; G. Glas. 9. Martyrdom: Theological and Psychological Aspects. Martyrdom in Judaism; H. Maccoby, Z.L. † . 10. The Martyrdom of Paul; J. van Bruggen. 11. Spiritual, Human, and Psychological Dimensions of St. Paul’s Martyrdom; H. W. M. Tájrá. Part IV:. Messianism: Theological and Psychological Aspects. 12. Introduction to Messianism: Theological and Psychological Aspects; G. Glas; 13. Casting a Psychological Look on Jesus the Marginal Jew; A. Vergote. 14. The Land of Israel: Desire and Dread in Jewish Literature; A. Ravitzky. 15. The Person of Jesus; A. van de Beek. 16. Imagining Jesus: To Portray or Betray? Psycho(-patho)logical Aspects of Attempts to Discuss the Historical Individual; P. J. Verhagen. Part V: Interdisciplinary Issues: Prospects for the Future.17. Introduction to Interdisciplinary Issues: Prospects for the Future; G. Glas. 18. The Hidden Subject of Job: Mirroring and the Anguish of Interminable Desire; M. H. Spero. 19. Biblical Themes in Psychiatric Practice: Implications for Psychopathology and Psychotherapy; S. Pfeifer. 20. The Bible and Psychology: New Directions in Biblical Scholarship; W. G. Rollins. 21. Searching for the Dynamic 'Within'. Concluding Remarks on ‘Psychological Aspects of Biblical Concepts and Personalities’; G. Glas. Index of Names. Index of Subjects.