The Contemplative Psychology of Gerald Gordon May (1940–2005)

Keywords: spiritual theology, psychology, unitive experience, spiritual longing, spiritual surrender


This article presents a diversity of major psychospiritual concepts in the works of Gerald Gordon May (1940–2005), half-brother on the renowned existential psychologist Rollo May. Unlike his brother, Gerald May has not penetrated the thought-provoking mainstream psychology of religion and spiritual theology. In the present text, we attempt to indicate some possible reasons for this, while also presenting him as a unique and insightful interdisciplinary author, exceptionally linking psychology and spiritual theology whose ideas were probably too advanced to be well accepted in his time. In order to argue in favor of this thesis separately from his diagnosis of the misuse of spirituality in contemporary society, the cornerstones of May’s contemplative psychology will be presented under headings such as unitive experiences, spiritual longing, and, their fruit, spiritual surrender.


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