Michael Gellert

The Divine Mind

Exploring the Psychological History of God's Inner Journey
Nautilus Award Winner for Religion/Spirituality of Western Thought

The Divine Mind

"This remarkable book is so full of intelligence, insight, and startling
humor that I wanted to read every other page out loud to someone else."
   —Barbara Brown Taylor

The Divine Mind tells the story of the Abrahamic God from the viewpoint of his own experiences, thoughts, and feelings as depicted in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Who he originally was—a God tormented and divided against himself and humanity—and who he became reflects a journey from trauma to redemption, from affliction to enlightenment. This journey begins in the Hebrew Bible, further unfolds in the Talmud, New Testament, Qur'an, and Gnostic literature, and culminates in the profound writings of the Jewish, Christian, and Islamic mystics. The book explains many of the Hebrew Bible's darker moments yet concludes on the same joyful note as God's journey, namely, on a celebration of his deep, mystical nature.


Read an excerpt (pdf)

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Part I: In the Beginning . . .
  1. The Irrational Nature of God
  2. Divine Wrath
  3. Divine Genocide
  4. God's Apocalyptic Fever
  5. God's Wake-up Call
  6. The Return of Wisdom
  7. God's PTSD and Other Afflictions
  8. From Trauma to Redemption

Part II: In the Middle . . .
  1. The Flowering of Wisdom
  2. The Kingdom of God Within
  3. The Face That Is Everywhere
  4. The Rock of the Self

Part III: And In the Endlessness . . .
  1. The Splendor of Absolute Nothingness
  2. The Incarnation That Is Always Happening
  3. The Beloved
  4. Reframing the Problem of Evil

Conclusion: God's Journey as a Metaphor for Our Own
Appendix I. God in the Hebrew Bible vs. the Old Testament
Appendix II. Why Was Nothingness First Discovered in the East?


"This remarkable book is so full of intelligence, insight, and startling humor that I wanted to read every other page out loud to someone else. In his keen analysis of the divine mind, Gellert not only led me to a new understanding of what it means to be made in God's image (with our neuroses and all), but he also gave me fresh compassion for what a very hard job it is to be God."
   —Barbara Brown Taylor, Episcopal priest, professor and author of Holy Envy and Learning to Walk in the Dark

"Michael Gellert reads God's inner journey from the pages of scripture—Jewish, Christian, and Muslim—into its continuation in three mystical traditions and on down to our own day. An engrossing account, enriched by Jungian psychology, that makes God's journey a persuasive metaphor for our own."
   —Jack Miles, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of God: A Biography

"In this fascinating account, Gellert applies depth psychology and trauma theory to Yahweh's inner journey from trauma to redemption, a journey that parallels the evolution of our consciousness as well. This creative, engaging book seems especially relevant to our time, when the Abrahamic religions and their patriarchal assumptions are so frequently in our daily news cycle—seeking transformation and redemption like the Yahwistic God himself."
   —Donald Kalsched, author of The Inner World of Trauma and Trauma and the Soul

"Michael Gellert thoughtfully critiques the literal image of the biblical God—so filled with complexities and 'opposites'—and traces its evolution to a more holistic image in the writings of the mystics of all three Abrahamic religions. Filled with psychological insights and written with both passion and compassion, this is a creative, radical, disturbing, bold, and illuminating work."
   —Rabbi Mel Gottlieb, Ph.D., president, spiritual director, and former dean of the Rabbinical School, Academy for Jewish Religion, California

"Startling, daring and profound, this is one of the greatest books I have read. Brilliant and highly readable, what Michael Gellert says about God has gone right into me and become a part of me, penetrating my heart as well as my mind."
   —Gilda Frantz, author of Sea Glass and co-editor in chief of Psychological Perspectives: A Quarterly Journal of Jungian Thought

"Michael Gellert offers a road map that leads from the mind's myriad projections to the enigmatic soul and its own origin. Crossing some fascinating and at times painful terrain, he brings the reader into silent realms of contemplation, and concludes his book on a joyful, mystical note. It is an intriguing book, to put it mildly."
   —Vraje Abramian, translator of Nobody, Son of Nobody: Poems of Sheikh Abu-Saeed Abil Kheir and Winds of Grace: Poetry, Stories and Teachings of Sufi Mystics and Saints

"This is a rich and surprising book. The clarity of Michael Gellert's prose belies the profound ambiguity at the heart of his subject. He makes a compelling case that if we allow ourselves to experience the pregnant silence that the Western notion of God has given way to, a space opens up in our minds to consider the creative possibilities of everything that is left to us to complete."
   —John Beebe, author of Integrity in Depth

"With great erudition and eloquence, Michael Gellert profoundly challenges our established understanding of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. The story of God's awakening that he so poignantly tells is really our own. One will never again read our scriptures in the same way or argue for a theological position that holds that God is outside of us, or only outside of us, or fundamentally different than us. Even atheists will find common ground with this book's all-embracing and inspiring vision."
   —Gary Granger, Humanities Professor Emeritus, Vanier College, Montreal

"Jungian analyst Gellert crafts a psychobiography of the Abrahamic God across Judaism, Christianity, and Islam in this perceptive study. . . . [His] work offers a bridge between the present-yet-harsh God found in the Bible and the seemingly-absent-but-ever-loving God contemporary churches, mosques, and synagogues worship."
   —Publishers Weekly

"The Divine Mind follows [the biblical God] from atrocity to atrocity, always seeking to detect some pattern of insight or learning, some indication of what, in human terms, might be called psychological growth. . . . Gellert is a deep and thrilling thinker about the texts of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Even long-time students of these traditions will find much in these pages to challenge them."
   —Open Letters Review