introduction to the new discipline of psychological biblical criticism, with
special emphasis on the thought of C. G Jung, Sigmund Freud, and Viktor Frankl,
as applied to select biblical texts and themes, toward a deeper understanding of
the role of the Bible in the life of the soul/psyche. The course will also
consider therapeutic and pathogenic effects of biblical texts, as highlighted by
new approaches to the Bible (feminist, liberationist, ideological, and cultural
criticism). Activities will include workshop sessions on "transforming
to do with religion, everything it is and asserts, touches the human soul so
closely that psychology least of all can afford to overlook it.”
- C. G. Jung
do not yet grasp what historical forces brought forth and determined early
Christianity. But beside and within this external history there is an inner
history . . . . Anyone who thinks that this religion can be illumined
historically and factually without psychological reflection is just as much in
error as one who pretends that everything about this religion can be said in
divine inspiration necessarily comes through a human heart and a mortal mind,
through personal prejudice and communal interpretation, through fear, dislike,
and hate as well as through faith, hope, and charity.” -
John Dominic Crossan
. . Words not only convey something, but are something . . . [they] have color,
depth, texture of their own, and the power to evoke vastly more than they mean;
. . . words can be used not merely to make things clear, . . . but to make
things happen inside the one who reads them or hears them.”
Carl Gustav. Man and His
Symbols. New York: Doubleday, 1964.
John W. Jesus at Thirty: A Psychological and Historical Portrait.
Minneapolis: Augsburg/Fortress, 1997.
Wayne G. Jung and the Bible. Atlanta: John Knox, 1983.
Wayne G. Soul and Psyche: The Bible in Psychological Perspective.
Minneapolis: Fortress, 1999.
Walter. Transforming Bible Study: A Leader's Guide. 2nd, revised ed.
Nashville: Abingdon, 1989.
Michael Willett. My Name is Legion: The Story and Soul of the Gerasene
Demoniac, Interfaces. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2004.
To understand Scripture
as a soul book, produced by the soul/psyche, addressed to the soul/psyche,
for the soul/psyche. This means
that the Bible is to be seen not only as the product of historical, social,
literary, and revelatory processes. It is also the product of a psychic process
in which conscious and unconscious factors are at work in the biblical authors
and their communities, in the texts they have produced, in readers and
interpreters of these texts and their communities, and in the historical
“effects” of Scripture in the lives of individuals and cultures over the
To come to an informed understanding of the words “soul” and “psyche”as
virtually synonymous terms in historical and contemporary usage, from
Aristotle and the Bible to the present.
3. To tell the story of the emergence of the new discipline of
psychological biblical criticism, beginning in the late 1960s in the context
of the new developments in biblical scholarship in the last three decades (e.g.,
feminist, liberationist, ideological, and cultural criticism), with a survey of
the new literature in the field.
To explore the foundational contributions of Carl Jung, Sigmund Freud, and
Viktor Frankl to a psychological critical approach to the Bible, with
special emphasis on its rich repertory of myths, legends, history, laws, psalms,
proverbs, prophetic vision, gospels, parables, letters, and apocalypses.
To explore the exegetical agenda of a psycho-spiritual approach to
the Bible, with attention to select themes: biblical symbols and archetypes;
psychodynamic factors at work in biblical narrative; the psychology of biblical
personality portraits (e.g. Jesus of Nazareth, King Saul, Ezekiel, Paul, and
Judas Iscariot); the psychology of biblical religious experience (e.g.
glossolalia, dreams, conversion); the psychology of biblical ethics; and
6. To explore the
hermeneutical agenda of a psycho-spiritual approach to the Bible, with
attention to select themes: the effects of texts on readers; the effect of
readers on texts; the “performance” of texts through drama, music, liturgy,
soup kitchens, and creeds; and the history of biblical effects, both pathogenic
7. To experiment
with Walter Wink’s Transforming Bible Study approach as a workshop
demonstration of the role of psyche in the reading of the Bible.
attendance at all sessions. Classroom exchange is as important as the
reading. (For credit and CEU students, attendance
= 1/6 of the grade. Each hour missed constitutes one tenth of the percentage
grade. See the instructor for class
makeup in case of an emergency)
Book Review*: Credit/CEU
participants must make one book review
(with a written copy to the instructor for grading). Select a title from the
attached list of books on Reserve in the library and register your choice with
Reserve librarian, Marie Rovero. (If someone has already selected the title you
must choose another.) Be prepared
to present your book review any time on Tuesday through Friday (a definite time
for your report will be set at our first session on Monday). The review is to
include the following: (a) a clear précis or overview of the book in relation
to this course, (b) a brief discussion of up to ten ideas you have found helpful
or informative, explaining why, and (c) the presentation of one important issue
for class discussion. The reviewer is asked to prepare some “visuals”
(hand-outs, chalk-board outlines, overhead projector transparencies, etc.) to
enhance communication. (2/6 of the grade).
Final Project*: A 10-20 page paper due, September 1. Topic proposal is due
the last day of class for approval by instructor. List the title of your
proposed paper/project with a descriptive paragraph of your objectives. (3/6 of
Required of credit and CEU participants only. All academic papers are to conform
to conventional technical, grammatical, and stylistic standards referred to in
the General Guidelines for a Research Paper. The Hartford Seminary Grading
Guidelines will be the standard of evaluation for the course.
Class Meeting Schedule and
Jung and the Bible: Where Psychology and Scripture Meet
Sigmund Freud, Viktor Frankl, and the Bible: Where Psychology and Scripture
Rollins, Soul and Psyche: The Bible in Psychological Perspective,
chap. 2, “Freud and Jung,” 33-60. Also, two brief handouts to be distributed
in class on Monday, on Freud’s Future of an Illusion, and Frankl’s, Man’s
Search for Meaning.
Psychological Criticism and Biblical Studies in the New Millennium:
Reclaiming a Sense of Soul
A handout from the Pontifical Biblical Commission on “The
Interpretation of the Bible in the Church” on contemporary biblical
scholarship. Also, Rollins, Soul and Psyche: The Bible in Psychological
Perspective, Preface, v-viii, and chap. 4, “What is Psychological Biblical
Criticism: Definition and a Model,” 89-114.
The World of the Text in Psychological Perspective: Exegetical Case Studies
sections of Rollins, Soul and Psyche: The Bible in Psychological Perspective,
chap. 5, 115-145, and of John Miller, Jesus at Thirty: A Psychological
Historical Portrait (specially assigned chapters for class presentation and
review). Michael Newheart, My Name is Legion: The Story and Soul of the
Gerasene Demoniac, pp. 53-110.
Between Text and Reader in Psychological Perspective : Hermeneutical Case Studies
sections of Rollins, Soul and Psyche: The Bible in Psychological Perspective,
chap. 6, 145-182.
Participants in SC 660. “The Bible and the Habits of the Soul: Psychological Perspectives
Wayne G. Rollins
In preparation for our week together on “the Bible and the habits of
the soul,” I would like you to read a few introductory pieces as background
for the first session. I think you will find them interesting and “reader
friendly.” They are listed in
order of their importance. Please try to make your way down the list as far as
possible before the week of class.
The first is the essay Carl Jung wrote just before he died in 1961,
summarizing his discoveries about the nature of the human soul/psyche. The title
is “Approaching the Unconscious,” the first essay in Man and His Symbols
(New York: Doubleday, 1964, or one of many other editions). We will discuss this
fascinating essay at the first class meeting. Please write or highlight five
ideas, issues, or problems for class discussion.
A second background assignment is the first three chapters of my book, Jung
and the Bible (1-55). If you don’t know much about Jung, it will be good
“boot camp” introduction. Be sure to include the third chapter, “The Bible
and the Life of the Soul.” It lies at the heart of this course. Again, please
write or highlight at least five questions/observations for class discussion.
A third assignment is a book that has changed many a parish Bible study
group, Walter Wink’s Transforming Bible Study: A Leader’s Guide. Once
you get started you will probably want to read the whole book. For starters
please read the Preface, chapters one and two (pp. 11- 43). If you have time,
skim chapters three and eight (44-65,109-27).
We will be demonstrating “transforming Bible study” on a daily basis.
If any of you would like to try your hand at leading a session, and have a
passage you would like to explore, let me know by telephone or e-mail.
A fourth assignment in two stages. Read pages xvii to xxiii and then skim
pages 3-49 of Michael Newheart’s eminently readable My Name is Legion: The
Story and Soul of the Gerasene Demoniac. It will introduce you to the latest
scholarly biblical insight into this dramatic tale found in Mark 5:1-20.
I look forward to our time together. It will go all too fast, but I hope
it provides you with a new way of understanding what we are about as pastors,
ministers, or teachers of the Word.
Wayne G. Rollins
Credit students: please note also the Book Review Assignment under
REVIEW SELECTION LIST
FOR CREDIT STUDENTS
are on library reserve for students to sign up and take out for book reports)
Margaret G. Resurrection Psychology: An Understanding of Human Personality
Based on the Life and Teachings of Jesus. Chicago: Loyola University Press,
Bruno. Freud and Man's Soul. New York: Knopf, 1982.
Schuyler. Text and Psyche: Experiencing Scripture Today. New York:
Donald. Jesus: A Psychological Biography. St. Louis: Chalice Press, 2000.
David J. Seeking Ezekiel, Text and Psychology. University Park, PA:
Pennsylvania State University Press, 1993.
Jill, and Rand Cheadle. The Bible Tells Me So: Uses and Abuses of Holy
Scripture. New York: Anchor Books/ Doubleday, 1996.
Cedric B. The Psychology of Biblical Interpretation. Grand Rapids:
Carl Gustav. “Answer to Job.” In The Collected Works of C. G. Jung,
edited by et al. Gerhard Adler, 355-470. Princeton: Princeton University,
Carl Gustav. Memories, Dreams, Reflections. New York: Pantheon, 1963.
Morton. Dreams: The Dark Speech of the Spirit. New York: Doubleday, 1968.
A., and P.-E. Lacocque. Jonah: A Psycho-Religious Approach to the Prophet.
Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina Press, 1990.
Jill L. Transforming Shame: A Pastoral Response. New York: Haworth Press,
Wayne E. Temptation. A Biblical and Psychological Approach. Louisville,
KY: Westminster/ Knox, 1991.
Ilona N. The Phallacy of Genesis: A Feminist-Psychoanalytic Approach, Literary
Currents in Biblical Interpretation. Louisville, KY: Westminster/ John Knox
Ilona. Taboo or Not Taboo: Sexuality and Family in the Hebrew Bible.
Miinneapolis: Fortress, 2000.
Richard. My Brother Paul. New York: Harper & Row, 1972.
John A. The Kingdom Within. Philadelphia: Lippincott, 1970.
John A. The Man Who Wrestled with God: Light from the Old Testament on the
Psychology of Individuation. [1981, republished by Paulist; Ramsey, NJ] ed.
King of Prussia, PA: Religious Publishing Co., 1974.
Robin. Paul for a New Day. Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1977.
Elizabeth-Anne. Jesus the Holy Fool. Franklin, WI: Sheed & Ward,
Gerd. Psychological Aspects of Pauline Theology. Translated by John P.
Galvin. Philadelphia: Fortress, 1987.
Paul C. Sigmund Freud's Christian Unconscious. New York: Guilford Press,
Heinz. The Structure of Biblical Myths: The Ontogenesis of the Psyche.
Dallas, TX: Spring Publications, Inc., 1983.
Walter. The Human Being: Jesus and The Enigma of the Son of the Man.
Minneapolis: Fortress, 2001.
Wilhelm H., and Robert C. Leslie. The Surprising Gospel: Intriguing
Psychological Insights from the New Testament. Nashville: Abingdon, 1984.
Dorothy. Psychoanalysis and the Bible: A Study in Depth of Seven Leaders.
New York: Bloch Publishing Co., 1974.