Paul Maxwell, "New Calvinism, Religious Abuse, and the Experience of God" (Lexington/Fortress, 2020)


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What happens to a trauma survivor who negatively internalizes the doctrines of Reformed theology? What are the paths forward toward psychological and spiritual healing? In a tour de force interdisciplinary study, The Trauma of Doctrine: New Calvinism, Religious Abuse, and the Experience of God (Lexington Books/Fortress Academic, 2020), Paul Maxwell combines insights from dogmatic theology, psychological modeling, and trauma theory to integrate current traumatology with Calvinist dogma. He presents a unique model to account for the disruptions trauma introduces to the human faculties, and integrates this anthropological model with a psychological mapping of faith on the human imagination. This study deserves the attention of anyone seeking increased clarity in the complex interplay of religion and psychology, and offers intelligent articulation of the struggle trauma survivors might have with maximalist doctrinal beliefs. Follow Paul on Twitter (@paulcmaxwell) or visit his website.

Ryan David Shelton (@ryoldfashioned) is a social historian of British and American Protestantism and a PhD researcher at Queen’s University Belfast.

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