HTS Theological Studies
On-line version ISSN 2072-8050
SCHEFFLER, Eben. Empathy for the psychological underdog: A positive psychological approach to Luke's Gospel. Herv. teol. stud. [online]. 2014, vol.70, n.1, pp. 01-08. ISSN 2072-8050. http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/HTS.V70I1.2742.
Taking the lead from Wisdom of Solomon 7:20, which clearly indicates that ancient authors did engage in the specialised 'scientific' (although contemporary) study of mental processes (διαλογισμοὺς ἀνθρώπων), it is argued that the author of Luke's Gospel paid special attention to the alleviation of human psychological suffering. Employing an approach recently being labelled as 'positive psychology', attention will be paid to general affliction (e.g. Lk 4:18; 6:21, 25), old age (Lk 1:5−80; 2:25−38), grief (e.g. Lk 7:11−17) and the emphasis on mental processes in Luke's portrayal of Jesus' exorcisms (e.g. Lk 4:35; 6:18−19; 9:38), as well as the psychological dimension involved in other types of suffering (e.g. poverty, sickness, enmity and social ostracism). The 'mental process', 'feelings' or 'empathy' that motivate the alleviation of suffering (in the behaviour of Jesus and his followers) will also come into focus in the discussion of the Lucan use of the terms οἰκτίρμων (Lk 6:36), ἔλεος and σπλαγχνίζομαι (e.g. Lk 10:33, 37).