Explore emerging trends in trauma studies and biblical interpretation
In recent years there has been a surge of interest in trauma, trauma theory, and its application to the biblical text. This collection of essays explores the usefulness of using trauma theory as a lens through which to read the biblical texts. Each of the essays explores the concept of how trauma might be defined and applied in biblical studies. Using a range of different but intersection theories of trauma, the essays reflect on the value of trauma studies for offering new insights into the biblical text. Including contributions from biblical scholars, as well as systematic and pastoral theologians, this book provides a timely critical reflection on this emerging discussion.
Implications for how reading the biblical text through the lens of trauma can be fruitful for contemporary appropriation of the biblical text in pastoral and theological pursuits
Articles that integrate hermeneutics of trauma with classical historical-critical methods
Essays that address the relationship between individual and collective trauma
The Jewish practice of bar mitzvah dates back to the twelfth century, but this ancient cultural ritual has changed radically since then, evolving with the times and adapting to local conditions. For many Jewish-American families, a child’s bar mitzvah or bat mitzvah is both a major social event and a symbolic means of asserting the family’s ongoing connection to the core values of Judaism. Coming of Age in Jewish America takes an inside look at bar and bat mitzvahs in the twenty-first century, examining how the practices have continued to morph and exploring how they serve as a sometimes shaky bridge between the values of contemporary American culture and Judaic tradition.
Interviewing over 200 individuals involved in bar and bat mitzvah ceremonies, from family members to religious educators to rabbis, Patricia Keer Munro presents a candid portrait of the conflicts that often emerge and the negotiations that ensue. In the course of her study, she charts how this ritual is rife with contradictions; it is a private family event and a public community activity, and for the child, it is both an educational process and a high-stakes performance.
Through detailed observations of Conservative, Orthodox, Reform, and independent congregations in the San Francisco Bay Area, Munro draws intriguing, broad-reaching conclusions about both the current state and likely future of American Judaism. In the process, she shows not only how American Jews have forged a unique set of bar and bat mitzvah practices, but also how these rituals continue to shape a distinctive Jewish-American identity.
Theologians and religious figures often draw a distinction between religion of the ‘”head” and religion of the “heart,” but few stop to ask what the terms “head” and “heart” actually denote. Many assume that this distinction has a scriptural basis, and yet many Biblical authors used the word “heart” as a synonym for “mind.” In fact, there isn’t a strict separation of the two concepts until the modern period, as in Pascal’s famous claim that “the heart has its reasons that reason can not know.” Since then, many other philosophers and theologians have made a similar distinction.
The fact that this distinction has been so persistent makes it an important area of study. Head and Heart: Perspectives from Religion and Psychology takes an inter-disciplinary approach, linking the thinking of theologians and philosophers with theory and research in present-day psychology. The tradition of using framing questions that have been developed in theology and philosophy can now be brought into dialogue with scientific approaches developed within cognitive psychology and neuroscience. Though these scientific approaches have not generally used the terms “head” and “heart,” they have arrived at a similar distinction in other ways. There is a notable convergence upon the realization that humans have two modes of cognition at their disposal that correspond to “head” and “heart.” The time is therefore ripe to bring the approaches of theology and science in to dialogue—an important dialogue that has been heretofore neglected.
Head and Heart draws on the unique expertise in relating theology and psychology of the University of Cambridge’s Psychology and Religion Research Group (PRRG). In addition to providing historical and theoretical perspectives, the contributors to this volume will also address practical issues arising from the group’s applied work in deradicalisation and religious education.
Contributors include Geoff Dumbreck, Nicholas J. S. Gibson, Malcolm Guite, Liz Gulliford, Russell Re Manning, Glendon L. Moriarty, Sally Myers, Sara Savage, Carissa A. Sharp, Fraser Watts, Harris Wiseman, and Bonnie Poon Zahl.
Although historians have suggested for some time that we move away from the assumption of a necessary clash between science and religion, the conflict narrative persists in contemporary discourse. But why? And how do we really know what people actually think about evolutionary science, let alone the many and varied ways in which it might relate to individual belief? In this multidisciplinary volume, experts in history and philosophy of science, oral history, sociology of religion, social psychology, and science communication and public engagement look beyond two warring systems of thought. They consider a far more complex, multifaceted, and distinctly more interesting picture of how differing groups along a spectrum of worldviews—including atheistic, agnostic, and faith groups—relate to and form the ongoing narrative of a necessary clash between evolution and faith. By ascribing agency to the public, from the nineteenth century to the present and across Canada and the United Kingdom, this volume offers a much more nuanced analysis of people’s perceptions about the relationship between evolutionary science, religion, and personal belief, one that better elucidates the complexities not only of that relationship but of actual lived experience.
Essential reading for scholars and students interested in sociology and biblical studies
In this collection scholars of biblical texts and rabbinics engage the work of Barry Schwartz, Professor Emeritus in the Department of Sociology at the University of Georgia. Schwartz provides an introductory essay on the study of collective memory. Articles that follow integrate his work into the study of early Jewish and Christian texts. The volume concludes with a response from Schwartz that continues this warm and fruitful dialogue between fields.
Articles that integrate the study of collective memory and social psychology into religious studies
Essays from Barry Schwartz
Theories applied rather than left as abstract principles
John Modern offers a powerful and original critique of neurology’s pivotal role in religious history.
In Neuromatic, religious studies scholar John Lardas Modern offers a sprawling and critical examination of the history of the cognitive revolution and current attempts to locate all that is human in the brain, including spirituality itself. Neuromatic is a wildly original take on the entangled histories of science and religion that lie behind our brain-laden present: from eighteenth-century revivals to the origins of neurology and mystic visions of mental piety in the nineteenth century; from cyberneticians, Scientologists, and parapsychologists in the twentieth century, to contemporary claims to have discovered the neural correlates of religion.
What Modern reveals via this grand tour is that our ostensibly secular turn to the brain is bound up at every turn with the religion it discounts, ignores, or actively dismisses. In foregrounding the myths, ritual schemes, and cosmic concerns that have accompanied idealizations of neural networks and inquiries into their structure, Neuromatic takes the reader on a dazzling and disturbing ride through the history of our strange subservience to the brain.
In On the Psychotheology of Everyday Life, Eric Santner puts Sigmund Freud in dialogue with his contemporary Franz Rosenzweig in the service of reimagining ethical and political life. By exploring the theological dimensions of Freud's writings and revealing unexpected psychoanalytic implications in the religious philosophy of Rosenzweig's masterwork, The Star of Redemption, Santner makes an original argument for understanding religions of revelation in therapeutic terms, and offers a penetrating look at how this understanding suggests fruitful ways of reconceiving political community.
Santner's crucial innovation in this new study is to bring the theological notion of revelation into a broadly psychoanalytic field, where it can be understood as a force that opens the self to everyday life and encourages accountability within the larger world. Revelation itself becomes redefined as an openness toward what is singular, enigmatic, even uncanny about the Other, whether neighbor or stranger, thereby linking a theory of drives and desire to a critical account of sociality. Santner illuminates what it means to be genuinely open to another human being or culture and to share and take responsibility for one's implication in the dilemmas of difference.
By bringing Freud and Rosenzweig together, Santner not only clarifies in new and surprising ways the profound connections between psychoanalysis and the Judeo-Christian tradition, he makes the resources of both available to contemporary efforts to rethink concepts of community and cross-cultural communication.
The first sustained conversation between Marxism, postcolonialism, and psychoanalysis in biblical studies
This volume pursues critical readings of the Bible that put psychoanalysis into conversation with Marxist and postcolonial criticism. In these essays psychoanalysis provides a way to mediate between Marxism's materialist groundings and postcolonialism's resistance against empire. The essays in the volume illuminate the way empire has shaped the biblical text by looking at the biblical texts' silences, ruptures, oversights, over-emphases, and inexplicable elements. These details are read as symptoms of a set of oppressive material relations that shaped and continue to haunt the text in the ascendancy of the text in the name of the West.
Essays and responses from multiple perspectives and geographical locations, including Africa, Australia, Oceania, Latin America, and North America
Psychoanalysis that considers how the traumas of colonialism manifest both materially and psychically
This compendium of introductory essays invites scholars and clinicians to better understand people of various faiths from around the world. It is intended to correct the tendency among scientists to study religious behavior without accounting for its human dimension. For example: a psychologist describes a religious ceremony in a certain community as a "sociological phenomenon." Such a technical description is likely to strike members of that community as an attempt by science to explain away their beliefs. This is counterproductive. In order to work effectively and empathetically with people of faith, psychologists should seek an intimate knowledge of how religion operates in the hearts and minds of living, breathing human beings.
With this goal in mind, editors Timothy Sisemore and Joshua Knabb have made one of the world’s major religions the subject of a separate chapter. In addition, they have arranged for each chapter to be written by a psychologist who practices—or is culturally connected with—that religion. This marks the book’s unique contribution to the field: it is the product of people who have lived the world’s religions, not merely studied them. By taking such a respectful approach, the book promotes an appreciation for the ways that religious belief animates, inspires, and instructs its adherents. Moreover, the indigenous point-of-view of these essays will help scholars identify their own biases when researching religious groups, allowing them to produce more accurate and holistic analyses.
Psychologists understand that religion and spirituality provide meaning and purpose to billions of people around the globe. But the actual experience of these beliefs eludes the grasp of the reductionistic methods of science. With this resource at their side, psychologists in academic and clinical settings will be equipped to understand religious experience from the bottom-up, and honor the beliefs and practices of the people they are trying to help.
Essays with a methodological and metacritical focus
The psychological approach known as affect theory focuses on bodily feelings—depression, happiness, disgust, love—and can illuminate both texts and their interpretations. In this collection of essays scholars break new ground in biblical interpretation by deploying a range of affect-theoretical approaches in their interpretations of texts. Contributors direct their attention to the political, social, and cultural formation of emotion and other precognitive forces as a corrective to more traditional historical-critical methods and postmodern approaches. The inclusion of response essays results in a rich transdisciplinary dialog, with, for example, history, classics, and philosophy. Fiona C. Black, Amy C. Cottrill, Rhiannon Graybill, Jennifer L. Koosed, Joseph Marchal, Robert Seesengood, Ken Stone, and Jay Twomey engage a range of texts from biblical, to prayers, to graphic novels. Erin Runions and Stephen D. Moore’s responses push the conversation in new fruitful directions.
An overview of the development of affect theory and how it has been used to interpret biblical texts
Examples of how to apply affect theory to biblical exegesis
Interdisciplinary studies that engage history, literature, classics, animal studies, liturgical studies, philosophy, and sociology
The book offers a renewed, classic vision of the human person and the ordering of the sciences as read through the complementary and, at one level, corrective insights of empirical psychosocial studies on resilience.
Robert H. von Thaden Jr.'s sociorhetorical analysis examines Paul's construction of sexual Christian bodies in First Corinthians by utilizing new insights from conceptual integration (blending) theory about the embodied processes of meaning making. Paul's teaching about proper sexual behavior in this letter is best viewed as an example of early Christian wisdom discourse. This discourse draws upon apocalyptic and priestly cognitive frames to increase the rhetorical force of the argument. Reading Paul's argument through the lens of rhetorical invention, von Thaden demonstrates that Paul first attempts to show the Corinthians why sexual immorality is the worst of all bodily sins before shifting rhetorical focus to explain to them how they can best avoid this infraction against the body of Christ.
A programmatic application of conceptual integration theory using a sociorhetorical mode of interpretation
A vivid account of key aspects of conceptual integration theory and how they function in sociorhetorical interpretation
A detailed application of these strategies to interpret 1 Corinthians 1-4; 6:12-7:7
SWEDENBORG'S DREAM DIARY
LARS BERGQUIST Swedenborg Foundation Publishers, 2001 Library of Congress BX8712.D9949B4713 2001 | Dewey Decimal 289.4092
Swedish man of letters Lars Bergquist explains the often enigmatic but always fascinating dream journal kept by Emanuel Swedenborg from 1743 to 1744. A scientist, Swedenborg meticulously recorded his dreams and visions, adding interpretations that foreshadowed modern dream analysis. After an Easter vision in 1745, Swedenborg abandoned his scientific studies and dedicated his life to studying the inner meaning of Sacred Scripture. In his diary, he reveals his daily life and the reflections that are a key to understanding his later spiritual works.
"The book enables us to follow Swedenborg...from dismal gloom to inner splendor."
--Gunnar Bronerg, Upsala Nya Tidning
The study of wisdom is challenging and thought provoking. This volume sheds light on the age-old question: What is wisdom and where does it come from?
Evidence of wisdom can be seen in both perception and performance, in sacred scriptures and in brain images. An eminent group of scholars from fields as diverse as theology, philosophy, medicine, biology, psychology, and linguistics were brought together to bring focus to this understudied area of scientific research.
Editor Warren Brown presents his research on brain functioning, drawn from observing individuals with damage to specific neural areas, to suggest the importance of integration between hemispheres of the brain to comprehend complex situations in a way that may be termed “wise.” Diana Van Lancker also looks at hemispheres of the brain and explores studies that show that left brain functioning is related to prayers, chants, and sayings often used in religious practice.
Wolfgang Mieder, recognized as the foremost scholar in the study of proverbs, explores the secular use of the biblical proverb of “A house divided against itself cannot stand” (Matt. 12:25). R. E. Clements also looks to the book of Proverbs and focuses on its ultimate goal: virtue and wholeness.
Why is it that the majority of people, from all socio-economic, education, and ethnic backgrounds, ascribe to some sort of faith? What draws us to religion? What pushes us away? And what exactly is religion anyway?
Defining religion over the past century has, ironically, led to theories that exclude belief in God, proposing that all systems of thought concerning the meaning of life are religions. Of course, this makes it impossible to distinguish the village priest from the village atheist, or Communism from Catholicism. Worse yet, it makes all religious behavior irrational, presuming that, for example, people knowingly pray to an empty sky.
Renowned sociologist of religion Rodney Stark offers a comprehensive, decisive, God-centered theory of religion in his book, Why God: Explaining Religious Phenomena. While his intent is not to insist that God exists, Stark limits religions to systems of thought based on belief in supernatural beings—to Gods. With this God-focused theory, Stark explores the entire range of religious topics, including the rise of monotheism, the discovery of sin, causes of religious hostility and conflict, and the role of revelations.
Each chapter of Why God? builds a comprehensive framework, starting with the foundations of human motivations and ending with an explanation of why most people are religious. Stark ultimately settles what religion is, what it does, and why it is a universal feature of human societies. Why God? is a much needed guide for anyone who wants a thorough understanding of religion and our relationship to it, as well as a firm refutation to those who think religion can exist without the divine.