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Reli 293
Psychology and Religion

Jeremy Zwelling

Religion Department, Room 209
Telephone: 2296
Office flours by Appointment


1. Doris Lessing, The Summer Before the Dark
2. William lames, The Varieties of Religious Experience
3. Rebecca Goldstein, The Dark Sister
4. Erik Erikson, Young Man Luther
5. Ron Hansen, Mariette in Ecstasy
6. Jung, C G., Psychology and Religion
7. Kenneth Georgian The Saturated Self
8. June McDaniels, The Madness of the Saints
9. Moacanin, Radrnila, Jung's Psychology and Tibetan Buddhism
10. The Dalai Lama and others, MindScience: An East-West Dialogue
11. Salinger, I.D., Raise High the Roof Beam Carpenters
12. Lewis, I.M., Ecstatic Religion


The following articles and selections from books are also available at Atticus. Some copies of this material will be on the shelves; it is best to order and pay in advance for the reproduced material by calling Pat at Atticus (347-1194) I ) B. Kaplan, "An Autobiography of a Schizophrenic Experience''
2) E. Hardwick Selections from The Selected Letters of William James
3) R Lewis, Selections from The James
4) C. Jung, Selections from Memories Dreams Reflections
5) C. Jung, Selections from Psyche and Symbol "Psychological Commentary on The Tibetan Book of the Dead"
6) H. Due, Selections from Dreamtime

In addition there will be two handouts: Salinger's "A Perfect Day for Bananafish", and selections from L. Suryaru and G. Jensen, Trance and Possession in Bali. This material will be handed out in class.


This course is a seminar in which the full participation of each student is required. Students will share in the responsibility of the leading of some classes (in pairs) and will be involved in the reading of and responding to each others' written productions. All grading for the course will be the responsibility of Jeremy Zwelling.

Students should expect to be devoting ten hours a week to class preparation. About six hours of reading and writing will be necessary for the Tuesday class (which often will be student lead); four horus of prepration will be required for the class on Thursday.

There will be seven short (500-750 words) writing assignments. The writing and reading assignments must be completed on schedule.

There will be a take-home final which will require another 1,500 words of writing.

The course grade will be constituted by
Class Participation: 30%
Writing Assignments: 50%
Take-Home Final: 20%


1. Tues., Sept. 7: Introduction
Psychology of Religion
Religious Psychology
Psychology and Religion
2. Thurs., Sept. 12: Seymour: A Case Study
a. Salinger, "A Perfect Day for Bananafish" (handout)
b. Salinger, "Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters"
3. Thurs., Sept. 14: Seymour: A Case Study
a. Salinger, "Seymour: An Introduction"
b. Anonymous, "An Autobiography of a Schizophrenic Experience" (xerox)

Writing Assignement #1: (500 words)
There are a number of indications that Seymour has had his share of encounters with various clinicians. In "Raise High..." we read of a dinner conversation with the psychoanalyst, Dr. Sims, whom Seymour considers "intelligent" and with whom he finds himself, at least in theory, agreeing on some matters. Sims recommends another analyst to him, and in his diary S. records his promise to M to see a psychoanalyst "one of these days", In a story you have not read ("Zooey") we learn that S did undergo a psychoanalysis. We know from "A Perfect Day" that indeed Seymour was hospitalized, apparently after an episode some might regard as psychotic or what others, and what appears to be a suicide attempt.

Now imagine Seymour coming to you and confiding to you his "suicide plot" (see "Seymour," p. 106). You choose not to answer immediately, but promise him a letter after reflecting upon all the things you have learned about Seymour in the three stones you have read. Write the letter you would send to Seymour which you consider a responsible and thoughtful response to his plans to kill himself.

4. Tues., Sept. 19: Psychoanalytic Theory and Religion
E. Erikson, Young Man Luther, pp 13-71; 92-97
Be prepared to do a line-by-line explication of section 3 of ch. I (pp. 21f.) in relation to Erikson's remarks on ideology both in this section and on pp. 75-77.
5. Thurs., Sept. 21: Psychoanalytic Theory and Religion
E. Erikson, YML, pp. 98-145
Be prepared to discuss Erikson's notion (see pp. 11-119) of the "nostalgia" for bipolarity and mutual recognition as it is restored through religion.

*************************Note: Tues., Sept. 26: No Class****************

6. Thurs. Sept. 28: Psychoanalytic Theory and Religion
E. Erikson, YML, pp. 146 222
7. Tues., Oct. 3: Psychoanalytic Theory and Religion
E. Erikson, YML, pp. 251-267
Writing Assignment: 750 words
Discuss Erikson's resections (see especially pp. 264f.) on religion as a means of recovering creatively from that which makes all humans patients. How is this creative recovery produced?

8. Thurs. Oct 5: Mariette: A Case Study
R. Hansen, Mariette in Ecstasy, pp. 1-107
9. Tues., Oct 10: Mariette: A Case Study
R. Hansen, Mariette in Ecstasy, pp. 111-179
Writing Assignment: 500 words
Pere Marriott writes (pp. 147ff.) of his confusion, a situtation in which he has "so many questions and ... too little science." In this course you are beginning to master the science of the psychology of religoin and appreciate its place as a system analysis. Based on what you have learned so far about this interpretive and diagnostic science, write a letter of response to the Pere's dilemma.

10. Thurs., Oct 12: Psychology and Anthropology (1)
J. McDaniel, The Madness of the Saints, pp. 1-53; 191-202, 229-286
McDaniel's ethnography reveals the place of pathology as a constitutive element for some of the ecstatic she describes. Be prepared to discuss how she attempts to deal with her own observation concerning the "difficulty in differentiating between the highest and lowest states that a person may experience, the ways in which ecstasy resembles pathology (p. 280)."

11. Tues., Oct 17: Phenomenological Psychology and Religious Experience
W. james, The Varieties of Religious Experience
21-25 (to the end of the first paragraph)
35 (beginning "I fear...") - 75
12. Thurs., Oct 19:Phenomenological Psychology and Religious Experience
W. james, The Varieties of Religious Experience
185 (beginning "It is natural...")-206
212-218 (to the end of the first paragraph)
Writing Assignment: 750 words
James states (p. 188) that "the most important step forward that has occurred in psychology since I was a student" is the notion of fields of consciousness, especially those outside of ordinary consciousness. In one page for each of the following issues discuss
a) the nature of the evidence James introduces in describing these fields;
b)the dynamics of alteration and transformation in which these fields enter into our awareness as discreet states of consciousness,
c) the characteristics of the "faith- state."

13. Thurs., Oct. 26: Phenomenological Psychology and Religious Experience
James, The Varieties..
256-265 (up to the last paragraph)
292-318 (up to the last paragraph)
362 (beginning "The last aspect ..")-391
14. Tues., Oct. 31: Theory and Biography
a. James Letters 1899, 1900 (xerox)
b. R Lewis, The Jameses (xerox):
364-368; 373-381; 385-389; 401-404; 454-464; 467-479; 488-497; 500-503; 508-514
Writing Assignment: 500 words:
James is deeply and personally implicated in his scholarship, as he explicitly acknowledges in his remarks about "my own over-belief' in The Varieties..., (see pp.388-89). Discuss the ways in which the biographical material you have read helps you to understand how these overbeliefs were shaped.

15. Thurs., Nov. 2: Case Study #3
R Goldstein The Dark Sister. pp. 1-158
16. Tues., Nov. 7 :Case Study #3
R Goldstein, The Dark Sister, pp. 159-272
Writing Assignment: 500 words
On p. 252 the narrator informs us that James experiences an "eddying blackness" in which "glowered an idea." See if you can express with some fullness the underdeveloped idea, one which lames reflects upon at a later time (see pp. 264-268).

17. Thurs., Nov. 9: Psychology and Anthropology (2)
a. Lewis, Ecstatic Religion, pp. 15-58, 145-184
b. L. Suryani and G. Jensen, Trance and Possession in Bali pp. 1 71-177, 196-200, 206-211, 216-224 (handout)
Based upon what you have read in Lewis and especially in Suryani, be prepared to discuss what might have been for lames a more appropriate intervention by James in the episode described on p. 251-52 of The Dark Sister.

18. Tues., Nov. 14: A Post-Modern Critique of the Self
K Georgian, The Saturated Self pp. 1-80
19. Thurs., Nov. 16: A Post-Modern Critique of the Self
Georgian, The Saturated Self. pp. 81-193
Writing Assignment: 500 words
Write a page on each of these questions:
1) In what ways do Georgian's postmodern notions of the self render an assault upon the very foundations of a psychology of religion as it has been expressed by the theorists we have been reading?
2) Reflecting upon your own intellectual leanings as they have emerged in this course, discuss whether your views of the self are romantic, modernist, or post-modern?
20. Tues., Nov. 21: Kate Brown: A Case Study
Lessing, The Summer Before the Dark, pp. 1-134
21. Tues., Nov. 28: Kate Brown: A Case Study
Lessing, The Summer.., pp. 135-247
22 Thurs., Nov. 30: Religion and Jungian Psychology
Jung, Psychology and Religion pp 1-77
23 Tues., Dec. 5: Religion and Jungian Psychology
a. Jung, Psychology and Religion, pp 78-1 14
b. C Jung, Selections from Memories, Dreams, Reflections (xerox)
c. C Jung, Selections from Psyche and Symbol, "Psychological Commentary on The Tibetan Book of the Dead"
24 Thurs., Dec. 7: The Encounter of Local Knowledges (1)
Moacanin, Jung's Psychology and Tibetan Buddhism, pp 1-58, 72-100
25 Tues., Dec. 12: The Encounter of Local Knowledges (2)
The Dalai Lama and others, MindScience, pp 13-18, 39-73, 91-104
26. Make-up Class: TBA: Under/Standing by Standing in Between
H Duer, Selections from Dreamtime (xerox)

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