In this thought-provoking book, clinical psychologist and professor of religious studies James W. Jones presents a dialogue between contemporary psychoanalytic thinking and contemporary theology. He sheds new light on the interaction of religion and psychology by viewing it from the perspective of world religions, providing an epistemological framework for the psychology of religion that draws on contemporary philosophy of science, and bringing out the importance of gender as a category of analysis.
Developments in psychoanalysis provide new resources for theological reflection, Jones contends. The Freudian view that human nature is isolated and instinctual has shifted to a vision of the self as constituted in and through relationships. Jones uses this relational model of human nature to explore the convergence between contemporary psychoanalysis, feminist theorizing, and themes in religious thought found in a variety of traditions. He also critiques the reductionism inherent in Freud's discussion of religion and proposes nonreductionistic and genuinely psychoanalytic ways for psychoanalysis to treat religious topics. For therapists, psychologists, theologians, and others interested in spiritual or psychological issues, Jones offers illuminating clinical material and insightful analysis.