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Ancient Christian Wisdom and Aaron Beck’s Cognitive Therapy

A Meeting of Minds

Series:

Alexis Trader

Ancient Christian Wisdom and Aaron Beck’s Cognitive Therapy details a colorful journey deep into two seemingly disparate worlds united by a common insight into the way our thinking influences our emotions, behaviors, and ultimately our lives. In this innovative study about mental and spiritual health, readers are not only provided with a thorough introduction to the elegant theory and practical techniques of cognitive therapy, they are also initiated into the perennial teachings of ascetics and monks in the Greek-speaking East and Latin-speaking West whose powerful writings not only anticipated many contemporary findings, but also suggest unexplored pathways and breathtaking vistas for human growth and development. This groundbreaking interdisciplinary volume in the art of pastoral counseling, patristic studies, and the interface between psychology and theology will be a coveted addition to the working libraries of pastors and psychologists alike. In addition, it is ideal as a textbook for seminary classes in pastoral theology and pastoral counseling, as well as for graduate courses in psychology dealing with the relationship between psychological models and religious worldviews.
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Part I. Methodologies and Philosophies

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t PART I t Methodologies and Philosophies ❖ C H A P T E R O N E ❖ Egyptian Gold in a Christian Hand: Models for Relating Cognitive Therapy and Orthodox Pastoral Theology n De doctrina christiana, Blessed Augustine examines various tools for interpreting obscure passages in the Bible. Among the resources at the exegete’s disposal, the bishop of Hippo includes the results of naturalistic and philosophical inquiry. Clothing his reflections in the language of scrip- ture, he writes the following: The Egyptians not only had idols and heavy burdens, which the people of Israel hated and fled from, but they also had vessels and ornaments of gold and silver, and garments, which the same people appropriated to themselves when departing from Egypt. They set these items apart for a better use, not on their own authority, but by the command of God. In the same way all branches of pagan learning not only have false and superstitious fancies and heavy burdens of unnecessary toil, which every one of us ought to abhor and avoid, when Christ leads us to depart from the fellowship of the heathen, but also they contain liberal instruction which is better adapted to the use of the truth. Now this instruction is their gold and silver, which they did not create themselves, but dug out of the mines of God’s providence.1 This fertile biblical analogy, likening pagan learning to Egyptian gold, not only warns of dangers and highlights benefits in the use of secular knowledge, but...

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