The International Association for the Psychology of Religion (IAPR) is an international organization promoting scientific research and exchange within the field of the psychology of religion. The Association is not partial to any particular trend but aspires to provide a platform for the entire spectrum of the scientific-psychological study of religion for psychologists of religion from all over the world.
IAPR is the oldest formally existing organization in the psychology of religion worldwide. The Association was founded in 1914 in Nuremberg, Germany, as “Internationale Gesellschaft für Religionspsychologie” and published in that same year the first volume of the “Archiv für Religionspsychologie” (now Archive for the Psychology of Religion).
For more information about the IAPR, read on below and/or visit the IAPR homepage www.iaprweb.org.
The IAPR is one of the very few in the international fields of psychology, theology and sciences of religion to have its past extensively contextually investigated. Published on the completion of IAPR’s first century (2015), a monograph on IAPR’s history (Religionspsychologie) was itself critically discussed in a special supplement to the Archive in 2016.
Already at this early stage, a number of international scholars, including some from the USA, belonged to the board of both the association and the journal, while the key figure of the enterprise was Wilhelm Stählin (1883‐1975), a German protestant minister. Stählin, in 1927 handed over both the Association and the Archiv to Werner Gruehn (1887‐1961), a Lutheran pastor from the Baltic countries, who in later years became a professor of theology at Berlin. During World War II the association and the Archiv disappeared.
At the beginning of the 1960s, Wilhelm Keilbach (1908‐1982), a professor of Roman Catholic systematic theology who had a strong interest in the history of religions, expressed the wish to reactivate the Association. He organized some ‘Tagungen’, small conferences, to which only a limited number of people were invited, essentially pre‐war students and friends of Gruehn, and Keilbach’s own priest‐students. The papers read at the conferences were printed in the irregularly published Archiv, which now functioned more as proceedings than as a journal.
In 1995 Nils Holm (*1943), a Finnish historian of religion with strong interest in psychology of religion, became president of the Association, which by then was almost without membership. He modernized the Archiv by introducing the so-called blind peer review procedure, widely adopted within psychology already. At a “Tagung” in Aarhus (Denmark), 1998, he persuaded the Association’s board to take in some new, additional persons. Together with the small number of psychologists of religion already on the Board, these new members were committed to turn the Association into a scholarly, democratic, and confessionally as well as religiously neutral international platform for the psychology of religion.
At a conference in Soesterberg (the Netherlands) in 2001, the Association was re-founded.
The Archiv was transformed into a yearbook, is no longer related to a theological publishing company and is since 2009 a regular peer-reviewed, impact factor assessed journal in English (Archive for the Psychology of Religion), with three issues per year.