Psychobiography and the Psychology of Religion: A Tribute to the Work of Donald Capps
- 160 Downloads
This article examines Donald Capps’s work on the psychology of major religious figures and the social forces that informed their psychic lives, spiritual worldviews, and teachings. Drawing on four texts that were published between 2000 and 2014, the essay explores Capps’s views on the importance of psychobiography to the study of religion and the specific contributions his thinking has made to a greater understanding of the historical Jesus. The article considers Capps’s analysis of Jesus’s illegitimacy and his role as healer within the society in which he lived and preached. Building on Capps’s work, the article also expands on feminist and postcolonial theories that offer insight into the psychosocial development of religious figures whose teachings and beliefs emerged out of their individual life circumstances and the larger socio-political culture in which they lived.
KeywordsDonald Capps Psychology of religion Psychobiography of religious figures
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of interest
The author declares that she has no conflict of interest.
Human and Animals Rights
This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals.
- Biale, R. (1995). Women and Jewish law: The essential texts, their history and their relevance for today. New York: Random House.Google Scholar
- Capps, D. (2000). Jesus: A psychological biography. St. Louis, MO: Chalice Press.Google Scholar
- Capps, D. (2005). Young Clergy: A biographical-developmental study. New York: The Haworth Pastoral Press.Google Scholar
- Capps, D. (2008). Jesus the village psychiatrist. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press.Google Scholar
- Capps, D. (2014). Erikson’s verbal portraits: Luther, Gandhi, Einstein, Jesus. New York: Rowman and Littlefield.Google Scholar
- Chodorow, N. (1978). The reproduction of mothering: Psychoanalysis and the sociology of gender. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.Google Scholar
- Erikson, E. (1996). The Galilean sayings and the sense of “I”. Psychoanalysis and Contemporary Thought, 19(2), 291–337.Google Scholar
- Fanon, F. (1967). Black skin, white masks. New York: Grove Weidenfield.Google Scholar
- Freud, S. (1957). Mourning and Melancholia. In James Strachey (Ed. and Trans.), The standard edition of the works of Sigmund Freud (Vol. 17, pp. 218–256). London: The Hogarth Press.Google Scholar
- Gilman, S. (1993). The case of Sigmund Freud: Medicine and identity at the fin de siècle. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press.Google Scholar
- Memmi, A. (1957). The colonized and the colonizer. Boston, MA: Beacon Press.Google Scholar
- Miller, J. W. (1997). Jesus at thirty: A psychological and historical portrait. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press.Google Scholar
- Schaberg, J. (1987). The illegitimacy of Jesus: A feminist theological interpretation of the infancy narratives. San Francisco, CA: Harper & Row.Google Scholar