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

Smith, Kevin (2016) The art of integration? Psychology and religion in the work of Thomas Merton. MRes thesis, University of Glasgow.

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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.

Item Type: Thesis (MRes)
Qualification Level: Masters
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BL Religion
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN0080 Criticism
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts > School of Critical Studies > Theology and Religious Studies
Supervisor's Name: Pattison, Prof. George
Date of Award: 2016
Depositing User: Mr Kevin Smith
Unique ID: glathesis:2016-8045
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 01 Jun 2017 13:53
Last Modified: 07 Jul 2017 15:46

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