CitationLeung Lai, Barbara M. “Total Otherness, Awe-Driven Self-Condemnation, and Atonement for Guilt: The Psychology of Religious Experience and Guilt in Isaiah 6.” In Advances in Psychology Research. Volume 68, edited by Alexandra Columbus, 193-203. New York: Nova Science, 2010.
AbstractOriented in the integrated area of psychology and biblical studies, this chapter examines the interrelatedness between the psychological impact of religious experience and the evoking of guilt. A first-person biblical text is chosen—Isaiah 6, demonstrating the dynamics of one’s engagement in exotic visionary experience leading to the inducing of shame, guilt and its atonement. The cognitive aspect (according to the Hebrew mind) and the emotional state of guilt; the individual and collective dimensions of guilt (or corporate personality in the Hebrew mentality); and the difference between the Isaian emotive experience of shame and guilt will be explored. Employing a psychological lens along with literary critical tools, the psychological profile of Isaiah will be analyzed— providing a “window” into the personality’s inner reflection of his emotive state of shame and guilt. To Isaiah, the atonement for guilt should serve as an amendment and restoration towards the divine-human relationship. However, this study will further look into the extent to which the atonement for guilt is sufficient to bring about its amendment. Theories on reading as an “event” and the text’s emotive impact upon its readers (the notion of the emotive transference of guilt) will be discussed. In keeping with this line of investigation, the reader’s repertoire (gender-culture-context-situatedness) will become an integral part shaping the whole discussion (i.e. the “empirics” of reading). It is my high hope that through this study, the intricacy of perceiving the psychology of guilt as both a “science” and as an “art” will surface. Perhaps, this emerging concept should call for some methodological re-orientation and extension in this area of research.
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Alternative TitleThe Psychology of Religious Experience and Guilt in Isaiah 6