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A Psychology of Hope: A Biblical Response to Tragedy and Suicide [Paperback]

Kalman J. Kaplan
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
RRP: 16.99
Price: 15.62 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

31 Jan 2008
This book offers a new approach by combining the disciplines of history, psychology, and religion to explain the suicidal element in both Western culture and the individual, and how to treat it. Ancient Greek society displays in its literature and the lives of its people an obsessive interest in suicide and death. Kaplan and Schwartz have explored the psychodynamic roots of this problem--in particular, the tragic confusion of the Greek heroic impulse and its commitment to unsatisfactory choices that are destructively rigid and harsh. The ancient Hebraic writings speak little of suicide and approach reality and freedom in vastly different terms: God is an involved parent, caring for his children. Therefore, heroism, in the Greek sense, is not needed nor is the individual compelled to choose between impossible alternatives. In each of the first three sections, the authors discuss the issues of suicide from a comparative framework, whether in thought or myth, then the suicide-inducing effects of the Graeco-Roman world, and finally, the suicide-preventing effects of the Hebrew world. The final section draws on this material to present a suicide prevention therapy. Historical in scope, the book offers a new psychological model linking culture to the suicidal personality and suggests an antidote, especially with regard to the treatment of the suicidal individual.

Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.; Revised and Expanded Edition edition (31 Jan 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802832717
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802832719
  • Product Dimensions: 23 x 15 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,566,239 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

?Kaplan and Schwartz have succeeded in writing an erudite and thought provoking book about the psychodynamics of attachment and individuation in the fabled lives of the ancient Greeks and Hebrews. The book is a fine contribution to a worthy tradition in behavioral science writing, represented by David Bakan, Ernest Becker, and a handful of other scholars who have sought to link modern psychology with classical writings and sacred texts in order to address issues of ultimate concern. Unfortunately, very few books like this are written anymore. Instead, academic psychologists are deluged by technical treatises and parochial reports that stick slavishly to the quantitative data at hand. Kaplan and Schwartz should be applauded for their refreshingly broad and bold interdisciplinary effort.?-Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars To heal the wounded soul 15 Mar 2009
By Pieter Uys HALL OF FAME TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
In the Foreword to this revised & expanded edition, professor Nicholas Wolterstorff rightly observes that this text is more than just an effective suicide prevention manual. The book contextualizes preventive therapy in a theoretical analysis of the dynamics of suicide by means of a psychological, historical, theoretical and practical approach. Each individual needs to maintain balance between the dimensions of individuation & attachment. The authors show the way out of the traps of engagement & enmeshment. The illusion that breeds nihilism and the cure are identified most compellingly by comparing classical Greek literature with the Bible; striking attitudinal contrasts emerge about life, human worth and the nature of the Divine. By restoring hope, Covenantal Therapy counteracts the bleak view of life as a meaningless struggle. The history of the rise & fall of civilizations mirrors that of the despairing individual who moves towards self-destruction. Combining their knowledge of psychology & history, Kaplan & Schwarz investigate Greco-Roman, Biblical & Post-biblical perspectives on suicide in order to better understand the phenomenon in contemporary culture. A brief survey of religion and suicide in the introduction acknowledges the work of Durkheim, Alvarez, Bayet and Fedden.

Part One proceeds from Hamlet's famous words through those of inter alia Dante, Kant, Voltaire, Madame de Stael, John Donne, David Hume. The authors accept Durkheim's three varieties, i.e.
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