Encyclopedia of Psychology and Religion

Living Edition
| Editors: David A. Leeming


  • William SiplingEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-27771-9_200108-1

Definition and Context of Sanctification

Sanctification refers to the process of continuous bio-psycho-spiritual growth toward transcendent and transformative goals through the means of religious observance, personal improvement, and prosocial communal activity. The original Latin means “to make set apart,” indicating an evolutionary, iterative, or progressive change from a “pre-holy” state to a “becoming-holy” state (McGrath 1996).

Though this concept is a particular belief within Christian religious doctrine, similar concepts exist in other theistic and nontheistic belief systems and traditions. For example, sanctification is related to the humanistic concept of self-actualization, the process of engaging one’s being and willpower to overcome stressful or traumatic stimuli, and to progress toward greater personal meaning and fulfillment (Wong 2014). Such comparisons may not be as appropriate when encountering similar-sounding concepts in other religions and traditions, such as in...

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© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Catholic Studies, College of Arts and SciencesUniversity of St. Thomas (MN)St. PaulUSA