Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

An analytical interpretation of New Testament parables
by Covert, William H., II, Ph.D., Pacifica Graduate Institute, 2007, 305; 3281469
Abstract (Summary)

In the last century psychological researchers devoted much attention to the impact, both positive and negative, of religion on human behavior and individuals’ mental health. Analytical psychology, a branch of depth psychology, has displayed a keen interest in religion. Carl Jung, the architect of analytical psychology, wrote extensively about religion, and some of the practitioners and researchers who followed Jung also had much to say about the impact of religion on human behavior. This author, in the tradition of analytical psychology, examines five parables from the New Testament Gospel of Luke.

How the author arrived at this topic is chronicled in the first section. The positives and negatives of church life did much to create a curiosity about how religion affects mental health. Next, a review of the literature related to myth, Biblical myth, Jung’s writings related to religion, and the work of Jung’s predecessors related to religion is reviewed. A thorough discussion of the history of depth psychology leads to an examination of Jung’s theory.

In order to make a thorough, contextual examination of these parables, the author utilizes two modes of interpretation. First, in order to place the parables in their context, the parables are interpreted using the historical-critical method of Biblical interpretation. Once the contexts of the parables were clarified, an analytical interpretation was performed, in a fashion similar to interpreting a dream. The interpretation of a dream requires a dreamer to amplify the symbols in a dream, and the historical-critical interpretation was used to amplify the symbols in the parables.

These parables displayed the importance of the equitable distribution of energy in the psyche. The story-lines in these parables exhibited the symbolic use and misuse of wealth and power. When wealth was used to make a situation better, psychically, we had a better distribution of psychic energy. When wealth was used to maintain social convention, psychically, we had a destructive situation. The misuse of power either clinically or analytically proves to be detrimental to mental health.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Slater, Glen
School: Pacifica Graduate Institute
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 68/09, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Bible, Folklore, Theology, Psychology
Keywords: Depth psychology, Myth, New Testament, Parables
Publication Number: 3281469
ISBN: 9780549232636
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