Document Detail

From unity to atonement: Some religious correlates of Hans Loewald's developmental theory.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  12873369     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Loewald's understanding of ego development offers a way to conceptualise, from a psychoanalytic perspective, those aspects of religious experience that can reflect or contribute to the enrichment of the ego, in contradistinction to the defensive and regressive elements of religious experience that have been well detailed in the psychoanalytic literature in the past. In Loewald's view, a dynamic and metabolic interplay between ego and reality characterises the developmental process. With increasing levels of internalisation, differentiation, individuation and integration, ego and reality are restructured into increasingly resilient and durable forms. An ongoing dialectical tension between separation and reunion provides the driving force for development. Loewald's emphasis on the synthetic rather than defensive aspects of ego functioning forms the basis for his characterisation of sublimation as a 'genuine appropriation' rather than a defence, thus opening up one way to understand non-defensive aspects of religious experience from a psychoanalytic perspective. In the course of this exploration of Loewald's view of ego development and its implications for an understanding of religious experience, the author offers perspectives on Freud's views of religion, on some extreme forms of religious fundamentalism, and on the dynamics of 'mature' faith as illuminated by Loewald's developmental theory.
Jenifer A Nields
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article    
Journal Detail:
Title:  The International journal of psycho-analysis     Volume:  84     ISSN:  0020-7578     ISO Abbreviation:  Int J Psychoanal     Publication Date:  2003 Jun 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2003-07-22     Completed Date:  2003-12-05     Revised Date:  2004-11-17    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  2985179R     Medline TA:  Int J Psychoanal     Country:  England    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  699-716     Citation Subset:  IM    
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MeSH Terms
Models, Theoretical*
Psychoanalytic Theory*
Religion and Psychology*
Self Concept

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

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