TRS 753E Personality and Religious Development

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  • Class: TRS 753E Personality and Religious Development
  • Professor: Rev. Raymond Studzinski, O.S.B., PhD
  • Taken: Spring 2017
  • Description:

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TRS 753E PERSONALITY AND RELIGIOUS DEVELOPMENT SPRING 2017 Monday & Wednesday -- 9:40-10:55 AM Caldwell Hall 414 Rev. Raymond Studzinski, O.S.B., Ph.D. Office -- Caldwell Rm. 422 Office Hours –11:10-12 Tues. & Thurs. and by appointment Phone — 319-6848 (office); 238-1648 (residence) Email –

This course examines the psychological foundations of religion in human development and the evolution of religion during the life cycle. It includes an investigation of the contributions of Erikson, the object-relations theorists, Piaget, Kohlberg, Gilligan, Fowler and various adult developmental theorists. The implications of developmental studies for religion & culture, religious education and spirituality will be considered.

Course Objectives:

  1. To gain knowledge of the extensive contributions made by psychological researchers to understanding the religious/spiritual dimension of the human person and how that unfolds over the course of the life span
  2. To acquire some expertise at interrelating psychological and theological insights pertaining to moral and faith development
  3. To sharpen awareness of various relational factors which impinge on religious development both positively and negatively
  4. To sharpen appreciation of how imagination and feelings bear on religious development

Course Requirements:

1) Required Reading:

2) Reaction Papers to Books Read

Brief review essays/reaction papers will be required for the course on the five required books for the course. Each paper is to be two-three pages in length. The will be due on the day the book is discussed in class. Essays may include summary of the contents of the book as well as critiques, possible applications to various types of ministry or life experience, theological correlations, and suggestions for further research.

3) 18-20 page Synthetic paper:

Attending to the Spiritual/Religious Dimension of a Life Stage or Aspect of Life This paper will be an opportunity to draw together material from the various books read relative to some segment of the life cycle in particular highlighting how one might facilitate spiritual/religious development at that stage or with reference to that aspect. Depending on the topic selected, there should not be need to do a great deal of additional reading or research. Students will share their reflections related to the paper toward the end of the course. Due at the end of the course – Wednesday, May 3rd

Course Outline:

  • I. INTRODUCTION 1/9 Application of a Developmental Perspective to the Study of Religion and Personality. Religion and the Life Cycle. Significance of Erikson's Psychology for Understanding Religion.
    • Read: Bryan, 1-74.
  • II. FOUNDATIONS OF RELIGION 1/11, 1/18 Infancy and the Mutuality of Recognition. Vision and the Numinous. Early Ritualization. Transitional Objects and Phenomena. Imagination and Religion. Dynamics of Hoping.
    • Read: Capps, xi-xxvi; Bryan, 75-156.
  • III. RELIGION AND CONCERN 1/23, 1/25 The Toddler -- 16-36 mos. Development of Ego and Self. Narcissism -- Its Beginnings and Transformations. The Depressive Position and the Capacity for Concern. Early Object Relations. Separation-Individuation. Autonomy vs. Shame, Doubt. Read: Schweitzer, 1-39; Bryan, 157-249.
  • IV. RELIGION AND PLAY 1/30, 2/1 Preschool Child -- 3-6 years. Psychosexual Development. Initiative vs. Guilt. Loving and Beloved Superego. Conscience and Superego. Play and Ritual in Religion.
    • Discussion: Bryan, Human Being; reaction paper due on 2/1
    • Read: Capps, 3-41.
  • V. IMAGE OF GOD 2/16, 2/8 Development of an Image of God. Object Relations and Formation of a God Representation. Concept of the Representational World. God as Father/Mother. Changing Images of God over the Life Cycle.
    • Read: Rizzuto Essay on Blackboard; Schweitzer, 40-63.
  • VI. FAITH DEVELOPMENT 2/13, 2/15 Psychoanalytic interpretations of Faith. The work of John McDargh. William Lynch and the Images of Faith. James Fowler and Faith Development. Critiques of Fowler. James Loder and Convictional experience.
    • Read: Fowler Essay on Blackboard; Schweitzer, 64-96.
  • VII. IDEALS AND MORALS 2/20, 2/22 Cognitive Development. Work of Jean Piaget. Adaptation: Assimilation and Accommodation. Sense of Belonging. Sense of Responsibility. Lawrence Kohlberg, Carol Gilligan, Craig Dykstra, and Stanley Hauerwas. The work of Robert Coles.
    • Read: Kohlberg and Gilligan Essays on Blackboard; Schweitzer, 97-139.
  • VIII. ADOLESCENT FAITH 2/27, 3/1 Individuation at Adolescence. Ego Identity and Faith. Psychological Dynamics of Faith. Adolescent Religion.
    • Read: Setran, 1-79.
    • Discussion: Schweitzer, The Postmodern Life Cycle ; paper due on 3/1
  • SPRING BREAK -- 3/6-3/10
  • IX. ADULT DEVELOPMENT 3/13 Theories of Adult Development. Crises and Change. Object Relations and Defensive Styles. Transformations in Adulthood. Changing Commitments in Adulthood. Christian Adulthood.
    • Read: Setran, 81-160; Capps, 45-80.
  • X. YOUNG ADULTHOOD 3/20, 3/22 Intimacy vs. Isolation. Love and the Adult Couple. Vocational Choice and Discernment. Generation X.
    • Read: Setran, 161-239; Capps, 83-142
  • XI. GENERATIVE ADULTHOOD 3/27, 3/29 Caring and Helping Others Grow, Caring for Oneself. Generativity vs. Self-Absorption. Religion and Maturity. Parenting and Family Life. Family Systems.
    • Discussion: Setran, Spiritual Formation in Emerging Adulthood; paper due 3/29
    • Read: Capps, 142-215; Swinton & Payne, xii-56
  • XII. MIDLIFE DEVELOPMENT 4/3, 4/5 Shifting Time Perspectives. Midlife Crisis and Death. Carl Jung on the Second Half of Life. Midlife and Spirituality. Depression and Mourning. Second Journeys.
    • Discussion: Capps, The Decades of Life; paper due on 4/5
    • Read: Studzinski Essay; Swinton & Payne, 59-162
  • XIII. WISDOM AND INTEGRITY 4/10, 4/12 Meaning and the Life Cycle. Integrity vs. Despair. Acceptance of Self. Life-Review. Religion and the Elderly.
    • Read: Swinton & Payne, 163-276
    • Student Presentation – 4/12
  • XIV. SICKNESS, DEATH AND DYING 4/19, 4/24, 4/26 Mourning and Melancholia. Stages in the Grieving Process. Coping with Loss. Acute Grief Reactions. Death and Creativity.
    • Discussion: Swinton & Payne, Living Well and Dying Faithfully; paper due
    • Student Presentations – 4/19, 4/24. 4/26
    • Synthetic Paper due by Wednesday, May 3rd.



  • Spirituality: The amalgam of the positive emotions that bind us to other human beings - and to our experience of "God" as we may understand Her/Him. Love, hope, joy, forgiveness, compassion, faith, awe, and gratitude are the spiritually important positive emotions" From * Spiritual Evolution: A Scientific Defense of Faith, Vaillant