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Full Access Spirituality in Psychology of Religion: A Concept in Search of Its Meaning

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Spirituality in Psychology of Religion: A Concept in Search of Its Meaning

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Summary In this article it is argued that the apparent vagueness and broadness of the concept ‘spirituality’ and the difficulty in finding an agreeable definition for it are related to the different meanings of the concept within different intellectual and religious contexts and, subsequently, to different valuations of spirituality in relation to religion and lived religiosity. This article also examines the concept spirituality in the context of the psychology of religion’s historical entanglement with theology. On the one hand, the psychology of religion has emancipated itself from theological discourse and theological institutions. On the other hand, the psychology of religion is still closely connected to a modernist theological project of founding religiousness in a province of the mind that resists religious critique of traditional contents and institutional structures in a secular era. The author pleas for more differentiation between theistic and non-theistic dimensions of the concept spirituality.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Practical Theology and Psychology of Religion, Protestant Theological Faculty, University of Vienna Schenkenstrasse 8-10, A-1010, Vienna Austria herman.westerink@univie.ac.at

10.1163/157361212X644486
/content/journals/10.1163/157361212x644486
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Summary In this article it is argued that the apparent vagueness and broadness of the concept ‘spirituality’ and the difficulty in finding an agreeable definition for it are related to the different meanings of the concept within different intellectual and religious contexts and, subsequently, to different valuations of spirituality in relation to religion and lived religiosity. This article also examines the concept spirituality in the context of the psychology of religion’s historical entanglement with theology. On the one hand, the psychology of religion has emancipated itself from theological discourse and theological institutions. On the other hand, the psychology of religion is still closely connected to a modernist theological project of founding religiousness in a province of the mind that resists religious critique of traditional contents and institutional structures in a secular era. The author pleas for more differentiation between theistic and non-theistic dimensions of the concept spirituality.

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/content/journals/10.1163/157361212x644486
2012-01-01
2016-12-08

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