The Paradox of the Self and its Implications for Concepts of Personhood: Contrasting Contemporary Theological and Psychological Approaches to an Old Problem
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It is a widely accepted principle in both theology and the human sciences that the self, though each person perceives him- or herself as a singularity, is also characterized by multiplicity. The author analyzes this apparent paradox as it appears in contemporary social cognitive psychology and in Christian theological models of the person that are grounded in the doctrine of imago Dei. He argues that, whereas there are evident differences in the psychological and theological conceptions of the nature of persons, both disciplines endorse concepts of personhood that are characterized by a dynamic process of self-unification. Thus, the conceptual divide alleged to exist between theological and secular scientific models of the person may not be as pronounced as many suppose.