The paper is the first attempt to consider cultural and historical background of the new scientific direction of Christian psychology in the post-Soviet Russia. It shows the continuity of this trend with the works of the Tsar Russia period, and the connection with the works on the psychology of faith by foreign scientists.
The reasons for reviving the interest in the psychological issues of spiritual development and religious outlook are described. Despite the fact that certain ideas and attitudes to the issues mentioned above appeared at the Soviet time, the possibility of the open movement arose only at the decline of Soviet ideology. The interest in the study of personality and individuality was increasing on a par with the issues of man’s inner world, which is unthinkable without spiritual and religious aspects of human mind. The main milestones of Moscow school of Christian psychology development are highlighted: Seminar on Christian Psychology and Anthropology at the Department of Psychology, Lomonosov Moscow State University (1990), Laboratory of Philosophical and Psychological Foundations of Human Development (actually Christian psychology laboratory) at the Psychological Institute of RAS, new specialty «Psychology of Religion» at the Department of Psychology, Lomonosov Moscow State University (early 1990s), the first Russian edition of textbook « Christian Psychology» for high schools (1995), «Chelpanovskye readings» in the Psychological Institute of RAO, which touched on Christian issues.
Several departments of the Institute of Educational Innovations RAO start practicing Christian education and psychology. International conferences of the late 1990s - early 2000s on the psychology of religion and the implementation of other facts of the Christian ideas of psychology at educational and practical activities in Russia are mentioned.
Available Online: 15.11.2015
The soul concept has been forbidden to use in the academic psychological literature for over a hundred years. It was replaced (suppressed) by the concept of “psyche”, “consciousness”, “self-esteem”, etc. The paper raises the issue of the need to reconsider the concept of human soul as the fundamental basis of human mental activity. We emphasize the multidimensional concept of soul, a number of traditional fields of theoretical and applied psychology the directly being attributed to it, for example, the study of thinking, memory, perception, sensations, emotions, etc. We discovered that among the accepted meanings of the soul (more than ten listed in the paper) only one is known to fall out of the academic and psychological requirements, namely understanding the soul in terms of “spiritual part of human beings”. The fundamental conclusion consists in the fact that the soul properly never escaped the issues of academic psychology. On the contrary, it has been in the focus of scholars. In order to differentiate between the competence of psychology and theology we propose a distinction between “inner” and “outer” psychic manifestations. Within such a divide, the “outer” side will face the entire material world almost directly and entirely meet the requirements of the subject matter of science, whereas the “inner” side is connected with psychology through the reality, habitually referred to as spirituality, which in addition to theological interpretations can be deemed in terms of moral and philosophical value sphere and intelligible reason of human existence.
This approach allowed us to consider the issue of “spiritual” and “personal” relations, to establish relationships between personality psychology and the religious and secular approaches. It is shown that without taking into account the methodological correlation with these approaches the psychological category is reduced to simply identifying personal individual features, and motivational and volitional performance.
The article comprehensively analyzes the specifics of scientific relations between the two leading Russian psychologists A.N. Leontiev and L.S. Vygotsky. It is shown how initial relationship between the teacher (L.Vygotsky) and an attentive disciple (A. Leontiev) was replaced disengagement, search and defense of their own views. The author demonstrates the dynamics of psychological ideas of these two scientists. He highlights different approaches to the problem of activity and identity, which made them part in a certain period of time.Considerable attention is paid to the scientific work of A. Leontiev, who lived and created in the socialist times of ideological pressure. It is shown how in spite of this adverse factor Alexei Leontiev, the founder of the activity theory, where moral principles are out of place where a person becomes its “product”, managed to come to the need for a special study of personality, his/her moral value sphere. Referring to specific works of A. Leontiev, the author shows the evolution of A. Leontiev ideas as “leader of the Marxist psychology” in the internal context of his scientific research, which has led to the fact that he erased the fundamental differences with L. Vygotsky on the problem of experiences and activities.
The author suggests that in his last years A.N. Leontiev’s views were close to the “late” L. Vygotsky’s viewpoint, taking the side of his Master, an older friend, and at the same time, as it is a usual thing in the academic life, the main opponent. This proves the fact that two years before his death in 1977, A.N. Leontiev actually agreed with Vygotsky on the problem of experiences and activities.