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The Spiritual Self-In-Relation: Empathy and the Construction of Spirituality Among Modern Descendants of theSpanish Crypto-Jews

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The research that is presented here explores the role that empathic attachment plays in the development of the religious self. Based on an ethnographic study of modern descendants of the Spanish crypto-Jews, the work applies self-in-relation theory to the study of spirituality and religious belief acquisition among a population of individuals who, in adulthood, have modified their religious world view as a result of their crypto-Jewish heritage. The findings of the research expand the parameters of self-in-relation theory in three important ways: 1) through an examination of the role that empathic attachment plays in adult conversion patterns; 2) through the elaboration of a developmental model that considers the significance of empathic attachment for sons as w ll as daughters; and 3) through an investigation into the relationship between ethnicity and spiritual development.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Professor and Director of Women's Studies at theUniversity of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado

Publication date: March 1, 2000

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