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The Pursuit of the Soul:  Psychoanalysis, Soul-making and the Christian Tradition
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The Pursuit of the Soul: Psychoanalysis, Soul-making and the Christian Tradition


T&T Clark 2016

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Gathering Interest


One of the most striking features of contemporary psychology is the return of language of the 'soul' in contemporary discourse. In this original analysis Dr Peter Tyler investigates the origins and use of 'soul-language' in the Christian tradition before turning his attention to the evolution and preoccupations of modern psychoanalysis. In his forensic examination he explores the dynamics of psychoanalysis as a 'tool to rediscover the soul' of the 21st century seeker. Central to his book is the perceived clash between analysis and the spiritual tradition. His uncompromising conclusion is that the dialogue of the two in our present time will have far-reaching repercussions for church, society and future human well-being.

In the Logos edition, this volume is enhanced by a world-class set of research and study tools. Important terms link to dictionaries, encyclopedias, and a wealth of other resources in your digital library. Perform powerful searches to find exactly what you’re looking for. Take the discussion with you using tablet and mobile apps. With Logos Bible Software, the most efficient and comprehensive research tools are in one place, so you get the most out of your study.

Key Features

  • Reconsiders the biblical text in light of contemporary perspectives
  • Examples how the western philosophical tradition has affected our reading of bible
  • Emphasizes the importance of symbolic language


  • Part 1: Origins of the Soul
    • Prologue: A Night-Dream
    • What's in a Name?
    • Plato: Our Father in Faith?
    • Jesus Amongst the Platonists: Polotinus and Augustine
    • Plato in the Desert: Origin and Evagruis
  • Part II: The Return of the Soul
    • Otto Rank and the Battle for Freud's Soul
    • The Soul-Making of James Hillman: The Return of the Repressed
  • Part III: Whither the Soul?
    • Wittgenstein, Tagore, and Merton: The Postmodern Turn
    • Edith Stein and Love of the Soul
  • Epilogue: The Symbolic Language of the Soul

Praise for the Print Edition

[The Pursuit of the Soul] is densely packed with robust analysis for theologians, psychologists, and pastoral counselors. ... Tyler offers intriguing insight into the interminable debate between science and religion ... [which] ameliorates the divide and leads to constructive dialogue within both disciplines. ... Tyler is an incredibly erudite scholar in theology, philosophy, and psychology. He writes with great panache, delivering a perceptive monograph for theologians, philosophers of mind, and psychologists concerning the prerequisites for understanding each other's disciplines and methods.

—Reviews in Religion and Theology

Peter Tyler's new book, The Pursuit of the Soul, casts a wide net in pursuit of one over-arching question: Can the traditional soul-language of the ancient Greek philosophers, the New Testament, and the early Christian thinkers enter into productive dialogue with the post-Freudian psychoanalytic world? Or, more succinctly: Are there effective pre-modern answers to post-modern questions? Understanding the soul as the locus of performative discourse, Tyler illuminates thinkers from Plato to Ludwig Wittgenstein, Thomas Merton, and Edith Stein. Incisive and thought-provoking, this bravura survey promises to make a major contribution to a central issue of our time.

—Bernard McGinn, University of Chicago

Although "soul" is referred to by many today, from liturgists, poets and mystics to journalists, musicians and psychologists, few explore what soul is. The soul is frequently evoked, but we are often left in the dark as to its nature. Peter Tyler provides us with a seminal work which outlines the nature of soul, as this concept has been employed in scripture, catechesis, Platonic philosophy, late classical and early medieval theology, contemporary philosophy and psychoanalysis. This is an extremely useful and erudite book, which throws light on the historical representations of this elusive subject.

—David Tacey, La Trobe University, Australia

Product Details

  • Title: The Pursuit of the Soul: Psychoanalysis, Soul-making and the Christian Tradition
  • Author: Peter Tyler
  • Publisher: T&T Clark
  • Publication Date: 2016
  • Pages: 208
  • Resource Type: Monograph
  • Topic: Theology

About Peter Tyler

Peter Tyler is Senior lecturer and program director of pastoral theology at St Mary's University College, Twickenham, UK. Previous publications include St. John of the Cross: Outstanding Christian Thinker.

Sample Pages from the Print Edition