In memoriam: Leon Schlamm
17 August 2015
Dr Leon Schlamm who worked in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Kent from 1977 to 2011 sadly died on the 3rd August 2015, aged 67. Leon played a major part in the life of the University for over 30 years and played a formative part in building the identity of the Department of Religious Studies, enhancing its profile in comparative religion.
At Kent, Leon taught modules on the psychology of religion, Hinduism and Gurus and Disciples. He was important in bringing mysticism and the psychology of religion to Kent from the 1970s and took early retirement in 2011. He brought success, as the co-convenor with Dr Peter Moore, with the MA in Mysticism & Religious Experience (the first programme of its kind to be established in the UK in 1993/1994). It ran for many successful years and attracted a number of students who now have academic positions in the UK. He was also key in developing new and creative MA programmes, supporting the development of MA programmes in psychoanalysis and in cosmology and divination, which were both delivered for a number of years at Kent.
His research work focused on Rudolf Otto and numinous experience and on the psychology of Carl Jung and religion. He was particularly interested to show the relation of Otto and Jung to mystical experience and explored work in transpersonal psychology, particularly Ken Wilber and John Welwood. He produced important articles for the Jungian journal Harvest and in the journal Religious Studies (see below). In his paper 'C G Jung's Visionary Mysticism' (Harvest: International Journal for Jungian Studies, 52, 1, 2006, 7-37) he argued that Jung could be understood as 'post-religious or detraditionalised, western visionary mystic'. His commitment to this position was driven by thinking in relation to the history of religion and established a strong position for locating Jung in the history of mystical thought. His research and teaching reflected his commitment to the model of religious studies established by Ninian Smart at the University of Lancaster in the 1960s and 1970s and which Leon brought to the University of Kent with his own unique vision, passion and humour.
Many staff and students will remember him fondly.
Head of Religious Studies
A Selection of Leon Schlamm's work:
- ‘Rudolf Otto and Mystical Experience’, Religious Studies, 27, 1991, 389-398. Cambridge University Press.
- ‘Numinous Experience and Religious Language’, Religious Studies, 28, 1992, 533-551. Cambridge University Press.
- ‘The Bible and Jungian Depth Psychology’, in D Cohn-Sherbok (ed.), Using the Bible Today: Contemporary Interpretations of Scripture, London: Bellew Publishing, 1991, 76-86.
- ‘The Holy: A Meeting-Point between Analytical Psychology and Religion’, in J. Ryce-Menuhin (ed.), Jung and the Monotheisms: Judaism, Christianity and Islam, London: Routledge, 1994, 20-32.
- ‘C G Jung’s Ambivalent Relationship to the Hindu Religious Tradition: A Depth-Psychologist’s Encounter with “The Dreamlike World of India”‘, Harvest: Journal for Jungian Studies, 44, 2, 1998, 58-74. C. G. Jung Analytical Psychology Club, London
- ‘C G Jung, Mystical Experience and Inflation’, Harvest: Journal for Jungian Studies, 46, 2, 2000, 108-128. Karnac Books for the C G Jung Analytical Psychology Club, London.
- ‘Ken Wilber’s Spectrum Model: Identifying Alternative Soteriological Perspectives’, Religion, 31, 2001, 19-39. Academic Press
- 'C G Jung's Visionary Mysticism', Harvest: International Journal for Jungian Studies, 52, 1, 2006, 7-37. Karnac Books for the C G Jung Analytical Psychology Club, London.
- 'C G Jung and Numinous Experience: Between the Known and the Unknown', European Journal of Psychotherapy and Counselling, 9, 4, 2007, 403-414. Routledge.
- 'Active Imagination in Answer to Job', in L Huskinson (ed.), Dreaming the Myth Onwards: New Directions in Jungian Therapy and Thought, Routledge, 2008, 109-121.
- 'C G Jung: Gnostic or Kabbalist?', in R Gilbert (ed.), Knowledge of the Heart: Gnostic Movements and Secret Traditions, Lewis Masonic/Ian Allan Publishing, 2008, 132-142.