A Group of the American Academy of Religion

February 1996; Volume 19, no. 1

Kelly Bulkeley, Editor; D. Andrew Kille, Layout




1995 RECAP



Journal of East-West Psychology

Lived Religious Experience

The Jung Cult





Call for Papers for 1996 PCR Sessions

The PCR Group is announcing the following calls for papers for the 1996 AAR Meeting in New
Orleans. Please send proposals to Sandra Lee Dixon, chair of the PCR steering committee.

  1. The cruelty, violence, and oppression which can be called the "undersides of human experience" pervade individual psyches, cultural expressions, and social institutions and challenge the limits of our empathy. Papers are invited which a) draw on theology and/or psychology to understand the "undersides" of ourselves and the world, and b) develop practical methods for sustained empathetic responses to people who represent these underside realities. We would appreciate attention to the bases in religious traditions and in ourselves for empathy with the "undersides."

  2. Another session will address "Spirituality in Contexts: Exploring the Diversity." The most useful papers will portray how spirituality "shows up" differently in different cultural contexts and religious traditions, whether mainline denominations, traditional religions, new age, or the men's and women's movements. The rationale for the designation "spirituality" should be clear in all cases.

Note on the PCR Program Process: Is there a subject, a theme, a book you'd like to see as the focus of a PCR paper session at a future AAR Meeting? It's never too early to offer suggestions for future PCR session topics. The usual process is that the steering committee listens carefully to the discussions, debates, and issues raised by PCR members during the year, and particularly at the Friday and Saturday pre-sessions of the annual AAR meeting. The steering committee then meets Saturday night to develop the outlines of the next year's program. So please contact a member of the steering committee if you have ideas to share!


PCR On-Line

The PCR steering committee is compiling a directory of e-mail addresses for PCR members. Please send your address to Kelly Bulkeley at 76633.1555@compuserve.com, and indicate whether you'd be interested in receiving the newsletter via e-mail.

1995 PCR Recap

The PCR Group hosted two pre-sessions and two main sessions at the 1995 AAR Meeting in Philadelphia. The Friday pre-session, organized by Mary Ellen Ross, included a presentation by Elizabeth Lunbeck, author of The Psychiatric Persuasion: Knowledge, Gender, and Power in Modern America, and a group of papers on the theme of "The Psychology of Oppression." Following the pre-session Lucy Bregman led the group in an invasion of a downtown Chinese restaurant. Special thanks to Mary Ellen for all her work in organizing such a wonderful series of presentations!

The Saturday morning pre-session included papers on religion and clinical practice, the sharing of "works in progress" by PCR members, and a brief business meeting. At the business meeting the group agreed to raise annual dues to $15, while keeping the dues at $10 for student members.

Peter Homans gave a presentation to an overflow crowd on "The Plight and Promise of Contemporary Psychoanalysis, in the Light of the History of the Psychoanalytic Movement" at the Saturday main session. Also at that session were papers evaluating the relation of Jung's psychology to religion. The final PCR main session, on Tuesday morning, offered a series of papers on the theme of "Religion in the Public Arena and the Compartmentalization of Life and Self."


Changes on the PCR Steering Committee

Three PCR steering committee members stepped down from their positions in 1995: David Crownfield, Judith Van Herik, and David Morris. We give thanks to them for their devoted service to the group, and wish them well in their future, post-steering committee lives. Special congratulations are due to David, whose wife Lisa gave birth to their first child, Elena Pearl, on October 22. Best wishes, David and Lisa!

Three new members were chosen to become steering committee members:

Lucy Bregman received her Ph.D. from the University of Chicago Divinity School Religion and Psychological Studies program in 1973. She taught briefly at Indiana University in Bloomington and moved to Temple University's Religion Department in 1974, where she has been ever since. In 1976-1979 she served as chair of the Person, Culture, and Religion Group (it was then called "Working Group for Psychosocial Interpretation in Theology"). She has authored a number of books: The Rediscovery of Inner Experience (Nelson-Hall, 1982), Through the Landscape of Faith (Westminster, 1986), Death in the Midst of Life: Christian and Depth Psychological Perspectives on Death (Baker Book House, 1992), and most recently First Person Mortal: Personal Narratives of Illness, Dying, and Grief, co-authored with Sara Theirmann (Paragon House, 1995). She is an evangically-oriented Christian, active in an Episcopal parish. Her housemate is an insecure (her word--ed.) cat named Mooska.

Christopher Ross is a clinical psychologist tenured in the Department of Religion and Culture at Wilfrid Laurier University in Canada, where he teaches several courses in the psychology of religion: Freud and Jung on religion, religion in the human life cycle, religious and therapeutic responses to grief, loss, and death, evil and its symbols, religious experience, and an occasional course on religion and social justice. His main research program is on Jungian personality type and religious orientation, and he has a growing interest in the phenomenology of goddess spirituality.

D. Andrew Kille is a doctoral candidate in the Inter-Area program at the Graduate Theological Union, working in psychological biblical criticism (PCR members Lewis Rambo and Diane Jonte-Pace are on his dissertation committee). He is a joint AAR/SBL member, and an active participant in the Psychology and Biblical Studies Group of the SBL. He is an ordained American Baptist clergy person, and served in pastoral ministry for 15 years before returning to doctoral studies. In addition to working on his dissertation Psychological Biblical Criticism: Genesis 3 as a Test Case, he is listmanager for the GTU-LIST, an e-mail list for the Graduate Theological Union. He teaches Bible in the Native Ministries Extension Program of Vancouver Theological Seminary, working in San Jose, CA with two Lakota Sioux and one Mayan student in a culturally contextualized M.Div. program.

Welcome to Lucy, Christopher, and Andrew!


News from PCR Members

Bonnie Miller-McLemore (Vanderbilt Divinity School) is still settling in at Vanderbilt, having taken a position there this past fall. She is still working on a project on family and faith, especially in terms of feminist and therapeutic voices, with several other colleagues. She is also beginning a collaborative project in feminist theory and pastoral and practical theology.

Valerie DeMarinis (Uppsala University) is just about to publish Clinical Psychology of Religion: Emerging Cultural and Multicultural Questions from European and North American Voices, which she co-edited with Owe Wikstrom. The volume includes articles by John McDargh, H. Newton Malony, and a number of European psychology and religion scholars.

Ernest Wallwork (Syracuse University) recently published an article entitled "Social Control of Sexual Behavior" under the heading "Sexuality in Society" in the second edition of the Encyclopedia of Bioethics (Macmillan, 1995), Volume 5, pp. 2386-2392. He has been invited to give the keynote address to the annual meeting of a consortium of psychoanalytic institutes, groups, and programs in the mid-Atlantic region in October. His book Psychoanalysis and Ethics (Yale, 1991) came out in paperback this year. A Spanish translation will be published soon by Fondo de la Cultural Economica. He is working on a new book on psychodynamic difficulties people have making moral decisions that ethical theories need to address in considering the application of normative standards.

David Fisher (North Central Illinois University) reports that, "for my sins," he has been promoted to Professor as of Sept. 1, and is also now Chair of the Department of Philosophy. Although he does not say exactly which sins led to these promotions, David does cite the following definition: "chair, n., a piece of furniture with a back, to be sat upon."

Jeffrey Rubin (C.G. Jung Foundation in New York City) is working on a number of research projects: the integration of psychoanalysis and Buddhism; what a contemplative psychoanalysis would be; the relevance of complexity theory and bootstrap theory (in contemporary physics) to psychoanalysis; possibilities and blindness and insight in the theory, institutions, and practice of psychoanalysis.

Daniel Noel (Vermont College) says he is still working on a book for Continuum that seeks to apply post-Jungian psychology of imagination to an assessment of neo-shamanism. He recently taught "Myths and Images in Cross-Cultural Psychology" at Pacific Gradutae Institute, using Anglo dealings with a Navajo hero myth and Zuni/Mayan/Temiar Senoi dream images as the foci. Daniel is also putting together a small travel seminar to the west of Ireland with a colleague June 25-July 5, 1996. The emphasis will be the lore and spirituality of the landscape.

Bastin Parangimalil has just published a book which he co-authored with P.J. Abraham titled Images for Human Wholeness (Pangaya Publications, Bangalore, India, 1995). He is setting up a youth ministry center in Mysore City in Karnataka State, India. The center is named Atmadarsana, which means "Discovery of One's True Self," to grow to fullness and wholeness.


New Journal

At the Saturday morning PCR pre-session in Philadelphia, Kennard Lipman of the California Institute for Integral Studies announced the publication of a new periodical: Journal of East-West Psychology. Kennard, co-editor with Carolyn Foster, explained that the intent of the journal is as follows: to explore the complex relationships between psychology and spirituality from both Western and non-western standpoints; to assess the legacy of modern Western psychology as well as the psychological implications of non-western traditions from the viewpoints of both Western and non-Western intellectual and spiritual traditions; and to formulate psychologies for our multi-cultural and multi-traditional world which foster both the integration of individuals and cultures, as well as respect for diversity. The journal welcomes articles related to these broad concerns. Manuscripts should be sent to Managing Editor, Journal of East-West Psychology, California Institute of Integral Studies, 765 Ashbury Street, San Francisco, CA 94117 (415-753-6100, ext. 101).

New Book Series

Also at the Saturday morning PCR pre-session, Judith Van Herik of the Pennsylvania State University announced a new book series in religious studies on Lived Religious Experience. Judith, the general editor of the series, said that "Penn State Press invites book-length manuscripts that interpret religions by studying personal experience in its historical, geographical, social, and cultural settings. We seek studies that interpretively recreate forms of religious practice to consider what being religious and being mean in particular times and places. In addition to critical biography and autobiography, we encourage studies of daily lives in communities. The series will be multidisciplinary and multicultural. We seek studies of religious lives that have been previously overlooked and of lives that are not at first glance formally 'religious' but are informed by religious concerns." Submissions, proposals, and inquiries may be directed to: Judith Van Herik, Religious Studies Program, 318 Weaver Building, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16802.


Book Commentary

Robert Segal (University of Lancaster) offers the following commentary on Richard Noll's controversial new book The Jung Cult: Origins of a Charismatic Movement (Princeton, 1994).

Richard Noll, a clinical psychologist, argues that C.G. Jung derived his psychology less from science than from the fin-de-siècle occultist, völkisch, often anti-semitic groups that arose to spearhead the cultural revival of Europe. Formed by or around leading German cultural figures such as Stephan George, Count Hermann Keyserling, and Richard Wagner, these groups rejected egalitarian Christian values for elitist pagan ones. The groups modeled themselves on Greek mystery cults. Members strove to realize their own divinity. German culture was deemed the repostiory of paganism.

Noll claims that the Jungian aim of discovering one's divine self, which everyone harbors but which only a few are sentitive and resolute enought to seek out, matches that of the elitist groups. Noll claims, moreover, that Jung established his own elitist group: the Jungian movement itself. Noll claims still further that Jung established a secret cult whose members worshiped him. No one would deny that Jung was keenly interested in cultural trends. But he was far more interested in movements that Noll barely mentions notably, Gnosticism and alchemy. When Noll discusses Jung's interest in the mystery cults, he concentrates on Mithraism and ignores Jung's interest in pagan cults which, unlike Mithraism, did not involve the völkisch worship of the sun.

Furthermore, Jung's undeniable fascination with cultural trends hardly meant his endorsement of them. Jung was wary of whatever cultural phenomena he examined. For example, he begins one of what Noll calls Jung's "three very positive reviews of volumes of metaphysical social criticism published by Keyserling" (p. 95) with the declaration that "Count Keyserling is a phenomenon that needs to be judged with extreme caution" (Jung, Collected Works, vol. 10, 2nd ed. [Princeton NJ: Princeton University Press, 1970], p. 479). As evidence of Wagner's impact on Jung, Noll cites Jung's famous dream of Demceber 13, 1913, in which Jung encounters the sun hero Siegfried. But in the dream Jung helps kill Siegfried, and after the dream Jung realizes that he has to give up the adolescent heroism of Wagner and German nationalism (Jung Memories, Dreams, Reflections [New York: Vintage Books, 1963], pp. 180-81).

More important, Jung was interested in cultural phenomena as expressions of psychological states. Not the sun itself but those human qualities projected onto the sun fazed him. Not the discovery of the god within oneself but the discovery of oneself as god is the Jungian goal. Indeed, the goal is less the discovery of oneself as god than the discovery of godlike qualities in oneself.

Most of all, Jung's advocacy of contact with the unconscious scarcely meant his advocacy of identification with it. Jung prided himself on exploring his own unconscious without succumbing to it. Identifying oneself with the unconscious is exactly the inflationary self-deification that he abhorred.

Rather than yearning to restore a pristine, pagan, pre-Christian past, Jung strove to forge a new, post-religious, post-Christian present. He sought not to revive an old religion but to establish psychology in place of religion. Jung's appeal has always been not to cultural luddites but to scientific moderns.

Noll provides no evidence of any secret organization. The cult turns out to be only the innocuous Analytical Psychology Club of Zurich. The devotion by Jungian analysts and analysands to the brand of analysis pioneered by Jung is not the same as induction into a cult worshiping Jung.

Noll deserves credit for rejecting the received view of Jung as an isolated genius. But he goes too far in dismissing the scientific sources of Jung's ideas. Jung yearned less to reject sciences for religion than to reject religion for science or, at most, to reconcile the two. The charges of occultism, antisemitism, and even self-deification are not new, and Noll's argument rests too much on guilt by association Jung's association with fin-de-siècle groups.

Robert A. Segal, University of Lancaster


Has PCR Helped You? If so we need to hear about it.

The status of PCR as a Group within the American Academy of Religion will be up for a standard five-year review this autumn. We need your help to enable us to demonstrate to the AAR that the group deserves renewal. If you have an answer of "yes" to any of the following questions, please write, giving all particulars, to Greg Schneider, Pacific Union College, Angwin, CA 94508, E-Mail: gschneid@puc.edu, FAX: 707/965-6390.

Please send your letters and messages as soon as possible, but not later than September 1, as our self-study is due in the AAR offices early in October. Thank you very much.

Greg Schneider