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The art of integration? : Psychology and religion in the work of Thomas Merton

Author: Kevin Smith; University of Glasgow,
Publisher: [Glasgow] : University of Glasgow, 2016.
Dissertation: M. Res. University of Glasgow 2016 School of Critical Studies
Edition/Format:   Thesis/dissertation : Thesis/dissertation : English
Summary:
Whilst there have been a variety of attempts to understand Thomas Merton's psyche, there remains relatively little attention to his own research in psychology. By focusing on a number of lesser known writings by Merton, this thesis will address the question of the integration of psychology and religion in his work. I will argue first that the early Merton operates with a hierarchical distinction between ascetical  Read more...
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Details

Genre/Form: Academic theses
Criticism, interpretation, etc
Theses MRes
Named Person: Thomas Merton; Thomas Merton
Material Type: Thesis/dissertation, Internet resource
Document Type: Book, Internet Resource
All Authors / Contributors: Kevin Smith; University of Glasgow,
OCLC Number: 1004881937
Notes: Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of MRes in Theology and Religious Studies to the School of Critical Studies, College of Arts, University of Glasgow, September, 2016.
Description: 1 online resource (111 pages)
Details: Mode of access: World Wide Web.; System requirements: Adobe Acrobat reader required to view PDF document.
Responsibility: Kevin Smith.

Abstract:

Whilst there have been a variety of attempts to understand Thomas Merton's psyche, there remains relatively little attention to his own research in psychology. By focusing on a number of lesser known writings by Merton, this thesis will address the question of the integration of psychology and religion in his work. I will argue first that the early Merton operates with a hierarchical distinction between ascetical theology and psychology, before examining the psychological ramifications of the developing turn to humanism in his work through his correspondence with and reading of Erich Fromm. First devoting a chapter to those of Fromm's writings with which Merton was familiar, I will then draw on this material in order to suggest that the avowed humanist harmony between the two writers in fact evaporates when considered in light of theological positions explicit in their correspondence. Subsequently analysing several chapters written in the twilight of Merton's life, the thesis ultimately challenges the claim that any asceticism-humanism tension is merely or primarily historical. Instead, an elaboration of how Merton's final putative integration of psychology, religion, and humanism incorporates Christian eschatology and soteriology will help demonstrate that this tension is intratextual, enduring, and perhaps also intrapsychic.

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