The Charismatic Imagination

Clergy Reading Mark 9: 14-29


  • Andrew Village University of York St. John



Anglican clergy, Charismatics, imagination, ordinary readers, personality, psychological type


The idea that imagination plays a key role in biblical interpretation has become increasingly important over the last few decades. The ability of readers to project from their present-day into an ancient narrative might be promoted by psychological functions that foster imagination, and by specific theological beliefs such as Charismaticism, which are associated with experiential and analogical hermeneutics. This study of 857 Anglican clergy examined the extent to which the Jungian psychological function of intuition and the practice of Charismaticism are associated with readers being able to imagine themselves into a New Testament healing story. The results provided evidence to support the idea that one way in which readers might tackle Mark 9:14-29 is to imagine themselves into the story, possibly by identifying with one of the characters in the narrative. The propensity to do this is partly related to psychological type preferences, with intuitives being more likely to imagine themselves into story. Independent of psychological preferences, Charismaticism also promotes imaginative engagement and identification with characters, and this is especially so for identification with Jesus and with the disciples. Empirical studies of this sort help to remind interpreters that interpretative preferences may be linked to individual differences in psychology and experience.


Archer, K.J. 1996. “Pentecostal Hermeneutics: Retrospect and Prospect”. Journal of Pentecostal Theology 8: 63–81.

— 2001. “Early Pentecostal Biblical Interpretation”. Journal of Pentecostal Theology 18: 32–70.

— 2009. A Pentecostal Hermeneutic for the Twenty-First Century: Spirit, Scripture, and Community. Cleveland, TN: CPT Press.

Arrington, F.L. 1994. “The Use of the Bible by Pentecostals”. Pneuma 16: 101–7.

Barth, J.R. 2000. “Mortal Beauty: Ignatius Loyola, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and the Role of Imagination in Religious Experience”. Christianity and Literature 50: 69–78.

Barton, J. 2002. “Thinking about Reader-Response Criticism”. Expository Times 113: 147– 51.

Bielo, J.S. 2009. Words Upon the Word: An Ethnography of Evangelical Group Bible Study. New York: New York University Press.

Blowers, P.M. 1995. “The Anagogical Imagination: Maximus the Confessor and the Legacy of Origenian Hermeneutics”. In G. Dorival and A.L. Boulluec (eds), Origeniana Sexta. Leuven: Peeters: 639–54.

Briggs, R. 1995. “‘Let the Reader Understand’: The Role of the Reader in Biblical Interpretation”. Evangel 13: 72–7.

Brueggemann, W. 1993. Texts Under Negotiation: The Bible and Postmodern Imagination. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press.

— 1997. The Bible Makes Sense. Winona, MN: Saint Mary’s Press.

— 2001. The Prophetic Imagination. Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg Fortress.

— 2003. An Introduction to the Old Testament: The Canon and Christian Imagination. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press.

Cargal, T.B. 1993. “Beyond the Fundamentalist–Modernist Controversy: Pentecostals and Hermeneutics in a Postmodern Age”. Pneuma 15: 163–88.

Cartledge, M.J. 1996. “Empirical Theology: Towards an Evangelical-Charismatic Hermeneutic”. Journal of Pentecostal Theology 9: 115–26.

Chapman, S.B. 2004. “Imaginative Readings of Scripture and Theological Interpretation”. In C.G. Bartholomew and E. Botha (eds), Out of Egypt. Milton Keynes: Paternoster: 409–47.

Coleridge, M. 1988. “The Necessary Angel: Imagination and the Bible”. Pacifica 1: 171–88.

Coombs, C. 2010. “Reading in Tongues: The Case for Pneumatalogical Hermeneutic in Conversation with James K. Smith”. Pneuma 32: 261–8.

Cranmer, D.J. and B.E. Eck. 1994. “God Said It: Psychology and Biblical Interpretation, How Text and Reader Interact through the Glass Darkly”. Journal of Psychology and Theology 22: 207–14.

Crossan, J.D. 1978. “Waking the Bible: Biblical Hermeneutic and Literary Imagination”. Interpretation 32: 269–85.

Currie, T.W., III. 2001. “The Baptized Imagination”. In W.H.B. Lazareth (ed.), Reading the Bible in Faith. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans: 145–50.

Davies, A. 2009. “What does it Mean to Read the Bible as a Pentecostal?” Journal of Pentecostal Theology 18: 216–29.

de Hulster, I. 2010. “Imagination: A Hermeneutical Tool for the Study of the Hebrew Bible”. Biblical Interpretation: A Journal of Contemporary Approaches 18: 114–36.

Fowl, S.E. 1998. Engaging Scripture. Oxford: Blackwell.

Fowler, R.M. 1985. “Who is ‘The Reader’ in Reader Response Criticism?” Semeia 31: 5–23.

Francis, L.J. 2001. “Personality Type and Communicating the Gospel”. Modern Believing 42: 32–46.

— 2003. “Psychological Type and Biblical Hermeneutics: SIFT Method of Preaching”. Rural Theology 1: 13–23.

— 2005. Faith and Psychology: Personality, Religion and the Individual. London: Darton, Longman & Todd.

— and P. Atkins. 2000. Exploring Luke’s Gospel: A Guide to the Gospel Readings in the Revised Common Lectionary. London: Continuum/Mowbray.

— and P. Atkins. 2001. Exploring Matthew’s Gospel: A Guide to the Gospel Readings in the Revised Common Lectionary. London: Continuum.

— and P. Atkins. 2002. Exploring Mark’s Gospel: An Aid for Readers and Preachers Using Year B of the Revised Common Lectionary. London: Continuum/Mowbray.

— and A. Village. 2008. Preaching with All Our Souls. London: Continuum.

—, B. Duncan, C.L. Craig and G. Luffman. 2004. “Type Patterns among Anglican Congregations in England”. Journal of Adult Theological Education 1: 66–77.

—, C.L. Craig, M. Whinney, D. Tilley and P. Slater. 2007. “Psychological Profiling of Anglican Clergy in England: Employing Jungian Typology to Interpret Diversity, Strengths, and Potential Weaknesses in Ministry”. International Journal of Practical Theology 11: 266–84.

Freund, E. 1987. The Return of the Reader: Reader-Response Criticism. London and New York: Methuen.

Ganss, G.E. 1998. The Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius: A Translation and Commentary. Chicago, IL: Loyola Press.

Goldsmith, M. and M. Wharton. 1993. Knowing Me, Knowing You. London: SPCK.

Green, G. 2005. “Feuerbach and the Hermeneutics of Imagination”. In C. Helmer and T.G. Petrey (eds), Biblical Interpretation: History, Context, and Reality. Atlanta, GA: Society of Biblical Literature: 155–63.

Harder, L.N. 1997. “Postmodern Suspicion and Imagination: Therapy for Mennonite Hermeneutic Communities”. Mennonite Quarterly Review 71: 267–83.

Hey, S. 2001. “Changing Roles of Pentecostal Hermeneutics”. Evangelical Review of Theology 25: 210–18.

Hocken, P. 1997. Streams of Renewal. Carlisle: Paternoster.

— 2002. “Charismatic Movements”. In S.M. Burgess and E.M. van der Maas (eds), The New International Dictionary of Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan: 477–519.

Jung, C.G. 1921. Psychologische Typen. Zurich: Rascher Verlag.

Keirsey, D. 1998. Please Understand Me II: Temperament, Character and Intelligence. Del Mar, CA: Prometheus Nemesis.

— and M. Bates. 1978. Please Understand Me. Del Mar, CA: Prometheus Nemesis.

Kitzberger, I.R. (ed.). 1999. The Personal Voice in Biblical Interpretation. London and New York: Routledge.

Lategan, B.C. 1996. “Scholar and Ordinary Reader: More than a Simple Interface”. Semeia 73: 243–55.

Loughlin, G. 1995. “Following to the Letter: The Literal Use of Scripture”. Literature and Theology 9: 370–82.

Lyons, J. 1998. “The Fourth Wave and the Approaching Millennium: Some Problems with Charismatic Hermeneutics”. Anvil 15: 169–80.

Martínez-Vázquez, H.A. 2005. “Breaking the Established Scaffold: Imagination as a Resource in the Development of Biblical Interpretation”. In C. Vander Stichele and T.C. Penner (eds), Her Master’s Tools? Leiden: Brill Academic: 71–91.

Menzies, W.M. 1985. The Methodology of Pentecostal Theology: An Essay on Hermeneutics. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson.

Mesters, C. 1980. “How the Bible is Interpreted in Some Basic Communities in Brazil”. Concilium 138: 41–6.

— 1991. “‘Listening to What the Spirit is Saying to the Churches.’ Popular Interpretation of the Bible in Brazil”. In W. Beuken, S. Freyne and A. Weiler (eds), The Bible and its Readers. London: SCM: 100–111.

Myers, I.B. 2006. MBTI Manual: A Guide to the Development and Use of the Myers–Briggs Type Indicator. Palo Alto, CA: Consulting Psychologists Press.

— and McCaulley, M.H. 1985. Manual: A Guide to the Development and Use of the Myers–Briggs Type Indicator. Palo Alto, CA: Consulting Psychologists Press.

— and Myers, P.B. 1980. Gifts Differing. Palo Alto, CA: Consulting Psychologists Press.

O’Malley, J.W. 1993. The First Jesuits. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Pontifical Biblical Commission. 1993. The Interpretation of the Bible in the Church. Rome: Pontifical Biblical Commission.

Ricoeur, P. 1981. “The Bible and the Imagination”. In H.D. Betz (ed.), The Bible as a Document of the University. Chico, CA: Scholars Press: 49–75.

Scorgie, G.G. 2001. “Hermeneutics and the Meditative Use of Scripture: The Case for a Baptized Imagination”. Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 44: 271–84.

Scotland, N. 2003. “Evangelicalism and the Charismatic Movement (UK)”. In C.G. Bartholomew, R. Parry and A.V. West (eds), The Futures of Evangelicalism: Issues and Prospects. Leicester: Inter-Varsity Press: 271–301.

Segovia, F.F. 1995a. “‘And They Speak in Other Tongues’: Competing Modes of Discourse in Contemporary Biblical Studies”. In Segovia and Tolbert, 1995a: 1–34.

— 1995b. “Cultural Studies and Contemporary Biblical Criticism: Ideological Criticism as a Mode of Discourse”. In Segovia and Tolbert, 1995b: 1–17.

— and M.A. Tolbert (eds). 1995a. Reading from this Place, Volume 1: Social Location and Biblical Interpretation in the United States. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press.

— and M.A. Tolbert (eds). 1995b. Reading from this Place, Volume 2: Social Location and Biblical Interpretation in Global Perspective. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press.

Sibeko, M. and B. Haddad. 1997. “Reading the Bible ‘with’ Women in Poor and Marginalized Communities in South Africa”. Semeia 78: 83–92.

Smith, J.K.A. 1997. “The Closing of the Book: Pentecostals, Evangelicals, and the Sacred Writings”. Journal of Pentecostal Theology 11: 49–71.

— 2010. Thinking in Tongues: Pentecostal Contributions to Christian Philosophy. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans.

Smith, N.G. 1956. “Imagination in Exegesis”. Interpretation 10: 420–26.

Spawn, K.L. 2012. “The Principle of Analogy and Biblical Interpretation in the Renewal Tradition”. In Spawn and Wright, 2012b: 46–72.

— and A.T. Wright. 2012a. “The Emergence of a Pneumatic Hermeneutic in the Renewal Tradition”. In Spawn and Wright, 2012b: 3–22.

— and A.T. Wright. 2012b. Spirit and Scripture: Examining a Pneumatic Hermeneutic. London: T&T Clark International.

Stafford, W.S. 2006. “Imagination and Scripture: Seeing the Unseen”. Sewanee Theological Review 50: 154–65.

Steven, J.H.S. 2002. Worship in the Spirit: Charismatic Worship in the Church of England. Carlisle and Waynesboro, GA: Paternoster Press.

Stibbe, M. 1998. “This is That: Some Thoughts Concerning Charismatic Hermeneutics”. Anvil 15: 181–93.

Stobart, E. 2006. Child Abuse Linked to Accusations of “Possession” and “Witchcraft”. Research Report no. 750. London: Department for Education and Skills.

Svensson, C. 1990. “The Bible and the Real Reader: World View and Interpretive Strategies”. In G. Hansson (ed.), Bible Reading in Sweden: Studies Related to the Translation of the New Testament. Stockholm: Almqvist & Wiksell International: 117–48.

Synan, V. 1997. The Holiness–Pentecostal Tradition: Charismatic Movements in the Twentieth Century. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans.

— (ed.). 2001. The Century of the Holy Spirit: 100 Years of Pentecostal and Charismatic Renewal, 1901–2001. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

Village, A. 2005a. “Assessing Belief about the Bible: A Study among Anglican Laity”. Review of Religious Research 46: 243–54.

— 2005b. “Christian Belief about the Bible and the Holy Spirit in Relation to Psychological Type”. Research in the Social Scientific Study of Religion 16: 1–16.

— 2005c. “Factors Shaping Biblical Literalism: A Study among Anglican Laity”. Journal of Beliefs and Values 26: 29–38.

— 2006. “Biblical Interpretative Horizons and Ordinary Readers: An Empirical Study”. Research in the Social Scientific Study of Religion 17: 157–76.

— 2007. The Bible and Lay People: An Empirical Approach to Ordinary Hermeneutics. Aldershot and Burlington, VT: Ashgate.

— 2009. “The Influence of Psychological Type Preferences on Readers Trying to Imagine Themselves in a New Testament Healing Story”. HTS Teologiese Studies/Theological Studies 65: art. 162.

— 2010. “Psychological Type and Biblical Interpretation among Anglican Clergy in the UK”. Journal of Empirical Theology 23: 179–200.

— 2011. “Gifts Differing? Psychological Type among Stipendiary and Non-Stipendiary Anglican Clergy”. Research in the Social Scientific Study of Religion 22: 230–50.

— 2012a. “English Anglicanism: Construct Validity of a Scale of Anglo-Catholic Versus Evangelical Self-identification”. In F.-V. Anthony and H.-G. Ziebertz (eds), Religious Identity and National Heritage: Empirical–Theological Perspectives. Leiden: Brill: 93–122.

— 2012b. “Psychological Type Profiles of Biblical Scholarship: An Empirical Enquiry among Members of the Society of Biblical Literature”. Mental Health, Religion and Culture 1–7.

— and L.J. Francis. 2005. “The Relationship of Psychological Type Preferences to Biblical Interpretation”. Journal of Empirical Theology 18: 74–89.

— and L.J. Francis. 2011. “The Visibility of Mission Agencies in General and USPG in Particular among Recently Ordained Anglican Clergy: An Empirical Enquiry”. Transformation 28: 129–37.

West, G.O. 1991. “The Relationship between Different Modes of Reading (the Bible) and the Ordinary Reader”. Scriptura 39: 87–110.

— 1994. “Difference and Dialogue : Reading the Joseph Story with Poor and Marginalized Communities in South Africa”. Biblical Interpretation 2: 152–70.

— (ed.) 2007. Reading Other-wise: Socially Engaged Biblical Scholars Reading with their Local Communities. Atlanta, GA: Society of Biblical Literature.

— and M.W. Dube (eds). 1996. “Reading with”: An Exploration of the Interface between Critical and Ordinary Readings of the Bible. Semia no. 73. Atlanta, GA: SBL.



How to Cite

Village, A. (2012). The Charismatic Imagination: Clergy Reading Mark 9: 14-29. PentecoStudies, 11(2), 212–237.