Psychology and the Trinity have always enjoyed close relations. Their intimate
connection goes back to St. Augustine's De Trinitate. a book which not only give the
first classical expression of the doctrine of the Trinity, but also laid the foundations
of introspective psychology. In recent times, many writers on the Trinity have employed- a
psychological theory of personality as their basis i or understanding the deity Most of
these, however, have relied on the older type of functional psychology and have employed
it in an analogical manner; seldom have they ventured to take account of the psychodynamic
theories of personality structure as developed by Freud and his followers.
The present enquiry undertakes to relate the more recent theories of psychodynamics
to the foundation of the doctrine, rather than to the doctrine itself. Our reason for
this procedure is that we claim that psychodynamics were involved in both the foundations
and the developments if the doctrine; to consider both of these would involve covering
too much ground, so we have confined our study to the foundations with few references to
the actual doctrine.
Although the inter-relation of the two disciplines is not new, our method is new, in
that psychodynamics are regarded as participating within what has been postulated by theology as "revelation", as a component, part. Psychodynamics is a more difficult discipline
to handle than the older psychology, largely because of its claim to reduce theology and
religious practices to psychological categories. Theology's position has been equally
defensive as psychodynamics has been threatening and offensive, by its claim that Revelation is immune from such criticism as psychodynamics would make, touch work has nod to be
done , therefore, to prepare the two disciplines for encounter. We have also sought to
take into account the more recent developments in New Testament studies emanating largely
from Bultmann, and Ramsey's concept of models has been found to be of great service
throughout the enquiry.
The contents of the enquiry are as follows. An Introduction indicates the problems
relating to bringing the two disciplines into an encounter. Part One is concerned with
detailing the various psychodynamic theories which will be employed in the central study.
Freud's position is indicated largely without comment. We then follow with the development of Freud's work by Melanie Klein; the position of modern Freudians (Binnicott, Anna Freud, Erik H. Erikson and Edith Jacobson), and the restructuring of Freud's theories by Fairbairn, as developed by Guntrip are considered; the Existentialist protest over against the Freudian position is stated; finally we present the standpoint of Jung. These chapters
include specific comments and criticisms. A final chapter which deals with psychodynamic
theories in relation to their logical status, particularly Freudian formulations, ends Part one.
The second part of the Enquiry, which is the central section, is divided into
three sections, The first relates the ideas of superego and monotheism; it examines Freudian claims; it outlines contemporary Old Testament studies, which in turn leads to a
detailed consideration of Revelation, followed by one on reduction. It ends with a study of key passages in the Old testament.
The second .section of Part Two considers the relation of the concept of the Spirit in Scripture to that of the id or unconscious in pschoanalysis. A study of the Spirit in the Bible is included; a detailed examination of the id or unconscious follows; a fresh study of relevant passages in the New Testament, with special reference to St. Paul, ends this section.
The Third section considers the fact of Jesus the Son and Psychodynamics. Much attention is given here to contemporary studies of the Gospel, including the "new quest" of the historical Jesus, Sultmann's demythologising programme and subsequent studies. Psychodynamic critiques of Jesus Christ are also considered. The part played by psychodynamics in Christological developments clears the way for a fresh consideration of the historical Jesus, in which key gospel passages are examined.
The Third part of the Enquiry is very much in the nature of a Coda. After considering four representative theories of the Trinity ( Barth, Augustine, Gren Lewis and Jung)
we give a summery of our own enquiry, which leads to suggestions being offered as to the
psychodymics operating in the doctrine itself, and we suggested how it could be employed
in a functional manner as a psycho therapeutic concept. We concluded that Trinitarian experience is fundamental and that psychodynamics afford the principle clue to this fact,
Theologians who may not express their adherence to the doctrine may nevertheless exhibit
in their writing true Trinitarian faith, as the doctrine is based on experience, (e.g.
Schleiermacher) and that in the -empirical fit" of the experience, we find the principle
clue to the doctrine.