American Psychology of Religion and the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion
Article first published online: 8 FEB 2011
2000 Society for the Study of Religion and Blackwell Publishers, Inc.
Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion
Volume 39, Issue 4, pages 531–543, December 2000
How to Cite
HOOD, R. W. (2000), American Psychology of Religion and the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 39: 531–543. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-5906.2000.tb00015.x
- Issue published online: 8 FEB 2011
- Article first published online: 8 FEB 2011
It is doubtful whether there ever has been a rise-fall-rebirth of the psychology of religion. While the claim has marginal merit for American academic psychology, it has little application in other cultures or even within American psychology of religion outside mainstream psychology. The psychology of religion has always been and remains tied to key individuals who sustain the field. This historical fact is important in understanding the role of the JSSR in the field. Early psychologists of religion such as Hall and James set the pattern for two distinctively different approaches to the psychology of religion. Hall's approach was methodologically restrictive, inherently reductive, and came to dominate the academic psychology of religion. James ‘approach was methodological plural, receptive to the evidential force of religious experience, and quickly marginalized within American psychology. These opposing orientation continue to influence the psychology of religion in societies such as the SSR and its journal. A review of the psychologist editors of JSSR illustrates that the psychology of religion remains a marginal interest of mainstream psychology. It survives because of the interdisciplinary nature of the SSSR and its journal.