Biography"Paul and Death: A Question in Psychological Coping" (2017) explores how Paul changed his attitudes toward death as becomes visible in his letters. Combining theology and biblical studies with modern psychology, this study shows how Paul's attitude is transformed from denial to reaction, to processing, to accepting, and his strategies also shift in accordance with these understandings.
My next research project is called "Social Systems in Transition: The meaning of collective identity and the interpretation and translation of the Greek term Sarx in Paul’s letters." As I received the Marie Sklodowska Curie Training Fellowship, the University of Oslo hosts this project.
The necessity of societal transformation toward a higher level of diversity has inspired my choice of topics. Nothing is more important than societal resilience and psychological coping. The world is changing and we better know what we are doing. As young I lived in south India, which made me more aware of my culturally-specific attitudes, but also of the possibility to learn new ways.
Areas of Research / Professional Expertise
Biblical studies, psychology, health, religion, democracy, and especially the intersection between health and theology, functioning in practice and intellectual perspectives. The upcoming project involves linguistics of the ancient Biblical texts of Paul and social systems theory.
Living in the small community Värmdö in Stockholm's archipelago, I have just begun training karate at my daughter's studio (Corona requiring social distancing).
Published: Jul 09, 2020 by Studia Theologica - Nordic Journal of Theology
Authors: Linda Joelsson
Subjects: Health Psychology, Religion
In the Gospels, demons are alien to the person’s constitution, causes harm, and the needful assistance is termed exorcism. In ways that resemble PTSD, a demon can to some extent take control over a person’s identity and behavior. The demon possessed is not quite him- or herself anymore. Social systems theory provides the lens to see the role of distance, conflict, and over- and under-functioning in relation to exorcisms as health-promoting, liberating interventions in Luke.
Published: Sep 27, 2018 by Studia Theologica - Nordic Journal of Theology
Authors: Linda Joelsson
Subjects: Religion, Cognitive Psychology
The interpretation of the Greek term sarx has great impact on the anthropology expressed in Paul’s letters, and in Luke/Acts. This article takes Nida and Taber’s depiction of the semantic componential structure of sarx in Luke 24:39 and in Romans 11:14 as a starting point for a discussion of the semantic structure of sarx in these texts. The hermeneutical principle of mental cascades (Lakoff and Wehling) describes the associative links that exist between concepts in any language.
By: Linda Joelsson
Subjects: Health Psychology, Psychology
Social systems in transition (MaSarx)
The full title of the project is "Social systems in transition. The meaning of collective identity and the interpretation and translation of the Greek term Sarx in Paul’s letters". The aim of the project is to investigate Paul’s views of collective (national and religious) identity in the settings where he uses the Greek term sarx, and to achieve a better understanding of Paul’s attempts to increase the level of differentiation in the social systems he encountered.
About the project
The aim of the project is to investigate Paul’s views of collective (national and religious) identity in the settings where he uses the Greek term sarx, an anthropological term currently with unclear semantic structure, and to consider the options for the translation of relevant passages. The purpose of the project is to achieve a better understanding of Paul’s attempts to increase the level of differentiation (i.e., the extent of individual variation) in the social systems he encountered. Evidence is taken from his letters, with the passages with an extensive use of the term sarx as primary material, and social systems theory will be adopted as an interpretive lens. The proposed action implies a novel approach to the interpretation of these passages, while simultaneously addressing the issues of social resilience and systems in transition. The results of the project may have wide ranging implications for the communities that turn to these texts for guidance in constructing collective identities.
Today Europe is facing multiple and seemingly sudden changes on many fronts, among which are migration pressures, climate change, and security threats. Religious communities today act as both significant resources, as well as potential threats, to cooperation in diversity. While the mobility of peoples offers opportunities to meet challenges faced by the EU, responses to migration flows include new or resurgent forms of nationalism, racism, and misogyny, based on racial and misogynistic ideas of unity through sameness. In such situations, the motivations for adapting to greater diversity are dependent upon each community, nation, or region’s characterization or construct of collective identity. Can unity be sought in diversity? Or must an idea of sameness be the unifying core in constructs of collective identities? As part of a now-global cultural heritage, Paul’s letters continue to influence meaning-making and self-understanding around the world, and the MaSarx project speaks to this situation.
17 August 2020 - 16 August 2022.