Comp 5: Psychology

1. Explicate the developmental psychological theory of Erik H. Erikson, paying special attention to the feminist critique of his work in the late 20th century. Why has Erikson’s lifecycle theory been so extraordinarily influential to practical theologians? What are the limitations of his theory for practical theology?

2. Some have argued that the postmodern life cycle challenges the developmental theory of Erikson and other stage theorists. Evaluate the work of Friedrich Schweitzer in this regard, and address whether these postmodern considerations parallel the recent “theological turn” to the relational self as described by James E. Loder, David Ford, and others writing from “within” the church.

3. Think of two 14 year olds you know—a guy and a girl—who have unwittingly become your “laboratory” for testing human developmental theory about adolescent boys and girls. How do these youth critique (or affirm) the theories of Erikson, feminists, and postmodern psychology? What part of each of these theories do you consider most important in devising a confirmation curriculum, and what parts seem counterproductive to the work of confirmation?

  • Dan (aka Br Bozano)

    just wondering if some of the feminist critics you are thinking of include Carol Gilligan and Jane Loevinger?

  • Doctor Clockwork

    Another excellent critique and an example, like Gilligan, of someone who has moved beyond Erickson, would be James Fowler (formerly at Harvard; now at Emory).

  • Anonymous

    Such hellishly hard questions for a Ph.D. in “practical???” theology. D.Min.s beware. Actually, a little BS would suffice for these terrible questions. Oh the theology of it all. Oh the scholarly rigor (or is it rigour or perhaps Ricoeur). Who knows and who cares? Oh the ignorance and apathy. Was that redundant?


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