In the past four decades or so, the so-called psychology of religion – after having been deemedextinct, impossible or unlikely – has risen to prominence again: the number of publications israpidly growing, an impressive secondary literature (handbooks, introductions, etc.) is availablealready, infrastructure has been developed (a number of new journals devoted to the subjecthave been founded, organizations have been established, increasingly funding is going to thearea), attracting many new researchers. Organizations like the American PsychologicalAssociation are now publishing in the field of psychology of religion (and its Div. 36 [“psych ofrel”] with almost 3,000 members is already midsized among the APA-divisions). This bookdocuments this re-emergence and development.
Springer New York
; January 2012
281 pages; ISBN 9781461416029Read online
, or download in secure PDF format
Title: Psychology of Religion
Author: Jacob A. van Belzen
The comeback of the psychology of religion: The aims of the present volume.- My concern with psychology of religion: Defending psychology, respecting religion.- The path of least resistance.- Pastoral psychology as a point of transfer from systematic theology to the psychology of religion.- Toward a mainstream psychology of religion beyond poor relation status.- “Writing heavenly language”: My research on Pentecostalism and Glossolalia.- Psychology of religion: A personal narrative.- Changing ways of doing things: An autobiographical account of some of my experiences in the psychology of religion.- Evolution of a career: Psychologist of religion incognito.- The story of a late rider.- An accidental psychologist of religion.- Anthropology as a voyage of discovery: Or, everything that finds expression in man merits consideration.- Why the psychology of religion? A rocky path to self understanding.- From the History of Religion to the Psychology of Religion.- How and why I became interested in the psychology of religion.- The evolution of a psychologist of religion.
In the press
From the reviews:
“This volume will have a lasting place on library shelves as testimony that will be consulted by anybody with an interest in the development of the field and in the work of any of the contributors. The chapters can nicely supplement the prior knowledge one may have of the work of the contributors, or they can serve as an introduction to the academic personalities of those one has not yet read.” (Michael Stausberg, International Journal for the Psychology of Religion, Vol. 24 (2), 2014)
“This is a collection of autobiographies of people who made a difference in the psychology of religion. … The book demonstrates that the psychology of religion is flourishing and not simply a relic of the early days of psychology. … The intended audience includes ‘readers in general psychology, religious studies, and philosophy of science.’ … The authors, who represent many different theological perspectives, are willing to discuss their triumphs and tragedies. The book will inspire readers who want to learn more about this field.” (Gary B. Kaniuk, Doody’s Review Service, June, 2012)
This volume of autobiographical accounts from some of the most
famous international scholars in the psychology of religion will appeal to psychologists of religion and those interested in the discipline, as well as intellectual historians interested in tracing an irreducibly complex area of study that is undisputedly more heterogeneous than its parent discipline of psychology. Rather than providing pat answers to the origins and vicissitudes of the theories in this discipline, the editor brilliantly employs autobiographical accounts to provide the interpreter the freedom necessary to discover pattern, contradiction, and to discover the ways in which psychology of religion has mounted a modest resurgence in the contemporary era after an ostensible disciplinary death. This book chronicles the survival of a marginalized discipline of study through very hard times and is therefore a contribution to understanding the ways in which larger historical patterns condition the validity and usefulness of types of knowledge; this enormous task is masterfully executed with apparent ease through idiosyncratic autobiographical accounts. It remains moot whether or not the proper autobiographies have been chosen and what cause this will have on future interpreters of the discipline and this book. This weakness is accounted for by the editor’s frank admission in his well-written introduction.
Joseph M. Kramp
John Jay College (CUNY)