Ein Ende, das zum Anfang wurde: Die Zeitschrift für Religionspsychologie, 1907-1913. Zur (Vor) Geschichte der IAPR

Belzen, Jacob A.
October 2013
Archive for the Psychology of Religion / Archiv für Religionsps;2013, Vol. 35 Issue 3, p285
Academic Journal
In 2014, the International Association for the Psychology of Religion (IAPR) will have its centennial, and so will its scientific journal, the present Archive for the Psychology of Religion [Archiv für Religionspsychologie, ARp], This first article on lAPR's (pre)history analyses the fate of the forerunner of ARp, which was published from 1907-1913. When psychology in general began to develop as an empirical, research-based "scientific discipline" since the midst of the 19th century, the psychology of religion became a prominent application of that "new" science of psychology, involving many of the founding fathers of present day psychology. Shortly after evoking these beginnings, the focus of the present article turns to the development of early scientific infrastructure for the psychology of religion. While the psychology of religion was initiated by European scholars such as Fechner (1801-1887) and Wundt (1832-1920), it was the organizer of American psychology in general who started the first journal in this field, G. Stanley Hall (1844-1924). Through his European admirer Gustav Vorbrodt (1860-1929), Hall's journal may have been an inspiration to the founding of the first European journal for the psychology of religion, the German-speaking Zeitschrift fur Religionspsychologie. Most likely the psychiatrist Johannes Bresler (1866-1942) took the initiative to start this journal and had invited pastor Gustav Vorbrodt (1860-1929), who had already repeatedly and vigorously called for psychological study of religion, to join him as editor. Consequently, the subtitle of the journal was 'Grenzfragen der Theologie und der Medizin [Boundary Questions in Theology and Medicine}.' The present paper discusses both Vorbrodt's and Bresler's work in the realm of the psychology of religion, as it does the contributions of two further editors; the philosopher-historian of religion Georg Runze (1852-1938), an honorary professor at Berlin University, and Otto Klemm (1884-1939), a collaborator of Wilhelm Wundt and later the director of the latter's psychological laboratory in Leipzig and the first to hold a professorship for applied psychology. Several reasons are discussed to answer the question why the Zeitschriftfur Religionspsychologie ceased publishing. Based on empirical-archival research, special attention is given to scholarly disagreements (and rivalry) behind the transition of the Zeitschrift fur Religionspsychologie to the new Archiv für Religionspsychologie.


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