Benjamin Abelow

Childhood Trauma, Religion, and Myth

All art images at this website: By Cherubino (Own work, cropped by website designer)

[CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/

by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.

I study how religious texts and traditions have been shaped by historically widespread experiences of childhood trauma, especially trauma from corporal punishment, abandonment, and neglect. My conclusions are contained in articles, book chapters, presentations, and a book manuscript in preparation.


My research can -


  • Contribute to our understanding of how and why religions developed and persisted;​
  • Highlight an underlying commonality among seemingly disparate religions;
  • Shed light on a largely unrecognized motivation for fundamentalist violence, and potentially help ameliorate that violence;
  • Reveal the traumatic origins of fearful religious conceptions about divine punishment, and help those who wish to free themselves from these conceptions;
  • Provide a deeper understanding of the personal and cultural effects of childhood trauma, and emphasize the crucial importance of empathic, supportive, and non-coercive childrearing practices.


If you'd like to dive directly into my work, a good place to start is with this on-line article. For my other writings, visit the Writings page of this website. You can also read a brief Overview of my work, see a list of my Presentations, and learn About my background. I am currently writing a book on childhood trauma and religion; if you'd like to be notified when it is published, please submit your email address using the form on the About page.