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  • Reference work
  • © 2010

Encyclopedia of Psychology and Religion

  • A crucial new resource for the collaboration and mutual illumination of the fields of psychology and religion and their intersection

  • A comprehensive reference work that includes that broad spectrum of psychological approaches to understanding the form and content of religious experience

  • Entries drawn from forty different religious traditions, including modern world religions (e.g. Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism) and older religious movements (e.g. African Animism, Egyptian, Greek, Gnostic, Native North American religions)

  • Provides the technical and phenomenological vocabulary that will enable researchers in the fields of psychology and religion to pursue collaboration and dialogue

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Table of contents (578 entries)

  1. Front Matter

    Pages i-xxv
  2. A

    1. Abraham and Isaac

      • Anais N. Spitzer
      Pages 1-3
    2. Abyss

      • Kathryn Madden
      Pages 3-6
    3. Active Imagination

      • Leon Schlamm
      Pages 6-8
    4. Adam and Eve

      • Stuart Z. Charmé
      Pages 8-10
    5. Adler, Alfred

      • Melissa K. Smothers
      Pages 10-12
    6. Adoption

      • Ronald Katz
      Pages 12-14
    7. Affect

      • Jo Nash
      Pages 14-16
    8. African-American Spirituality

      • Kathy Coffman, Jamie D. Aten, Ryan M. Denney, Tiffani Futch
      Pages 16-17
    9. Ahimsa

      • Trish O'Sullivan
      Pages 17-18
    10. Akedah

      • Lynn Somerstein
      Pages 18-19
    11. Alchemical Mercurius and Carl Gustav Jung

      • Mathew Mather
      Pages 19-20
    12. Allah

      Pages 20-20
    13. Altered States of Consciousness

      • Brandon Randolph-Seng
      Pages 20-21
    14. American Buddhism

      • Robert Kaizen Gunn
      Pages 21-24
    15. Amita Buddha

      • Minqin Wang (王敏琴), Lee W. Bailey
      Pages 25-28
    16. Amor and Psyche

      Pages 28-28
    17. Amplification

      • Joe Cambray
      Pages 28-31
    18. Analogy (Islamic)

      • Amani Fairak
      Pages 31-31
    19. Analytical Psychology

      • Claudia Nagel
      Pages 31-35

About this book

The Encyclopedia of Psychology and Religion offers a definitive and intellectually rigorous collection of psychological interpretations of the stories, rituals, motifs, symbols, doctrines, dogmas, and experiences of the world’s religious and mythological traditions. The Encyclopedia applies a wide range of psychological approaches to understanding the form and content of religious and spiritual experience, at the same time offering insight into the meanings of various symbols and themes of numerous religions. While there are reference works on religion and those on psychology, until now there has been no comprehensive encyclopedia that integrates psychology and religion in the context of current intellectual developments in the social/behavioral sciences. This Encyclopedia that integrates psychology and religion serves as a valuable user-friendly resource for libraries and professionals, and is of particular use to the growing community of researchers, academics, teachers, clergy, therapists, and counselors who are the real opinion leaders in the developing reintegration of religion and psychology. This Encyclopedia, interdisciplinary in approach, represents a rich new contribution to the development of human self-understanding.


From the reviews:

"Written by a vast array of prominent experts, this multidisciplinary reference work is an authoritative and trusted source of information for all researchers and professionals interested in the fields of psychology and religion and their intersection. This encyclopedia is a milestone achievement of special interest to all those who wish to understand all aspects of the growing reintegration of psychology and religion."
-Harold G. Koenig, MD, Professor of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, Associate Professor of Medicine, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC

"This remarkable encyclopedia will be a great asset for anyone interested in psychology and religion. Its range is impressive, the editing meticulous, and the mix of long and short entries makes the result more useful and appropriate for exploring topics in this field. I warmly commend the editors for their herculean efforts in producing this encyclopedia."
-Charles B. Strozier, Ph.D., Professor of History, John Jay College and the Graduate Center, The City University of New York

"Over the past several decades, the psychology and religion field has achieved a welcome independence from the more traditional enterprise of theology and psychological studies, and the brightness of its future is reflected in the many books and journal articles being written and published today. The appearance of this Encyclopedia is especially timely, for an encyclopedia provides invaluable information about the nature and scope of a field of studies that is inaccessible in any other way. The Co-Editors and the publisher deserve our profoundest thanks!"
-Donald Capps, Ph.D., William Harte Felmeth Professor of Pastoral Psychology, Princeton Theological Seminary

"I welcome the publication of the Encyclopedia of Psychology and Religion as the primary reference source for scholars, researchers, clinicians, and religious practitioners working within or across these fields. It is sure to meet a growing need for an integrated understanding of the relationship between spirituality and psychology across cultures, disciplines, and faiths. I look forward to using the Encyclopedia of Psychology and Religion to support both my academic research and clinical work in the area of spirituality and mental health."
-Jo Nash, Ph.D., MA, BA(Hons), PGDipEd, Lecturer in Mental Health, University of Sheffield, UK

"An extremely useful volume, this encyclopedia will be an invaluable aid to teachers in colleges, seminaries, and universities and should be made available to their students who will find themselves referring to it again and again. Exceptionally comprehensive."
- James W. Jones, Psy.D., Ph.D., Th.D., Professor of Religion and Adjunct Professor of Clinical Psychology, Rutgers University; Lecturer in Psychiatry and Religion, Union Theological Seminary

“Because no comparable encyclopedia on the interdisciplinary subject of psychology and religion is available, the editors fill a definite need with this work. … The bibliographies are excellent, and the cross-references are good … . Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-level undergraduates and above.” (S. M. Bahnaman, Choice, May, 2010)

“The Encyclopedia of Psychology and Religion (EPR) is a first-of-its-kind reference work with the stated goal of providing ‘a crucial new resource for the collaboration and mutual illumination…[for] researchers, academics, teachers, clergy, counselors’ (v), libraries, and other professionals within the fields of both religion and psychology … . As a whole, the set should basically be viewed as another encyclopedia of psychology with a special emphasis on the religious and spiritual dimensions of life.” (Mark Hanson, Theological Librarianship, Vol. 3 (2), December, 2010)

Editors and Affiliations

  • Blanton-Peale Institute, New York, USA

    David A. Leeming

  • National Institute for the Psychotherapies, New York, USA

    Kathryn Madden

  • Pittsburgh Center for Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis, Pittsburgh, USA

    Stanton Marlan

About the editors

David A. Leeming, Ph.D., has taught courses in Myth, Religion, and Literature for many years and has published several books on this subject. He has previous experience in overseeing encyclopedia-type projects, including the Oxford Companion to World Mythology (fall 2005). Until recently he was Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Religion and Health  and Dean of Blanton Peale’s Graduate Institute. He is currently Interim President of the Blanton-Peale Institute.

Kathryn Madden, Ph.D., licensed psychoanalyst and Diplomate, AAPC, has served the past 10 years at the Blanton-Peale Institute in New York City, first as Academic Dean & teaching faculty, and then as President & CEO. Kathryn received her Ph.D. in Psychology & Religion at Union Theological Seminary. She is co-editor of the Encyclopedia of Psychology & Religion, senior editor of Quadrant: Journal of the C.G. Jung Foundation for Analytical Psychology, and a member of the Editorial Board of the Journal of Religion & Health: Psychology, Spirituality & Medicine. She is also author of Dark Light of the Soul (Lindisfarne, 2008). Kathryn lectures regularly at national and international conferences on the subject of depth psychology. She maintains a clinical practice in New York City. Email:

Stanton Marlan, Ph.D., ABPP, LP. is the author of The Black Sun: Alchemy and the Art of Darkness and other works on alchemy. He is a Jungian psychoanalyst and clinical psychologist in private practice in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He is adjunct Clinical Professor of Psychology at Duquesne University and a training and supervising analyst with the Inter-Regional Society of Jungian Analysts. He is a member of the C. G. Jung Institute of New York and a licensed psychoanalyst in that state. He is also President of the Pittsburgh Society of Jungian Analysts. He holds diplomates in both clinical psychology and psychoanalysis from the American Board of Professional Psychology. He is the past Editor of the Journal of Jungian Theory and Practice, a member of the editorial board of Spring Journal, and is one of three coeditors for the Encyclopedia of Psychology and Religion. He has published numerous articles on Jungian psychology and alchemy and is the editor of Salt and the Alchemical Soul (Spring, 1995) and Fire in the Stone: The Alchemy of Desire (Chiron, 1997). He is the author of the widely acclaimed book, The Black Sun: The Alchemy and Art of Darkness (Texas A&M Press, 2005) and most recently has written a chapter entitled "Alchemy" for The Handbook of Jungian Psychology: Theory, Practice and Applications, edited by Renos Papadopoulos (Routledge, 2006), and an article "From the Black Sun to the Philosophers Stone" in the Alchemy issue of Spring Journal, 2006. He is also the editor of Archetypal Psychologies: Reflections in Honor of James Hillman, Spring Journal Books, in Press, 2008.

Bibliographic Information