Dr. Bryan N. Maier is Assistant Professor of Pastoral Counseling and Psychology at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. He is a board member of the Society for Christian Psychology and a member of both the American Association of Christian Counselors and the Christian Association for Psychological Studies. Dr. Maier’s research interests include exploring the relationship between psychology and theology, both historically and currently.
2005 0-7734-5930-8 It is well established that science in general and human science in particular gained both prestige and popularity in the latter half of the nineteenth century. The new or experimental psychology was no exception. Only a few decades after its ‘origin date’ in 1879, experimental psychology became the dominant paradigm for psychology and maintained this dominance well into the twentieth century. How did Christians interested in human nature respond to this rapidly advancing understanding of human nature? Was their traditional Biblical understanding of people at risk or could the new psychology and the old theology come to some understanding?
Professor Bryan N. Maier begins to answer these questions, at least in part, by unfolding the intriguing story of how one influential Evangelical institution reacted to this new psychology. A case study of who taught psychology and how psychology was taught at Princeton College in the latter third of the nineteenth century reveals at least one way that Evangelicals attempted to resolve the relationship between their faith and this new human science. Professor Maier argues that in systemic terms, a temporary and fragile alliance was formed between the new science and the old theology. This alliance, represented by the personal and professional relationship between James McCosh and James Mark Baldwin, postponed the conflict through their generation but ultimately undermined the ability of Scripture to say anything authoritatively concerning human nature.