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The Varieties of Religious Experience: A Study in Human Nature (Great Books in Philosophy)

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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

JamesÆs masterful treatise on the psychology of individual religious experience was originally composed for the prestigious Gifford Lectures delivered at Edinburgh University in 1901-1902. Emphasizing subjective religious experience in its many guises, as opposed to the distinctions among specific creeds or theologies, this trenchant exploration of the religious imagination is still unsurpassed as an overview of the human belief in a transcendent reality, whether personalized as God or viewed impersonally as some higher spiritual reality. As such JamesÆs study is relevant to any religious context, whether Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, ôNew Age,ö or any other.

Perhaps no other aspect of culture is so amorphous and difficult to grasp in its totality as religion. It is this very daunting aspect of the subject that makes JamesÆs achievement in these lectures so impressive. His gift for distilling the essential ingredients of the religious experience from the great mass of details is evident in every chapter. Taking the approach that extreme manifestations of the religious temperament give us more insight into the subject than the routine features of worship and ritual, he discusses many intriguing accounts of remarkable religious experiences, grouping these experiences into broad types: healthy-mindedness, the sick soul, the divided self and the process of its unification, conversion, saintliness, and mysticism. He also discusses the distinctions between religious experience and philosophy; psychological theories concerning the origin and nature of religious belief; religionÆs personal, individualistic approach to reality vs. scienceÆs impersonal abstract approach; and the overall value of religion to human well-being.

James concludes that religious experience is real insofar as it produces real effects on peoplesÆ lives and characters, and therefore it can and should be the subject of serious scientific inquiry.

Product Details

ISBN:
9781573929813
Author:
James, William
Publisher:
Prometheus Books
Location:
Amherst, N.Y.
Subject:
General
Subject:
Comparative Religion
Subject:
Religion
Subject:
Psychology of Religion
Subject:
Psychology, Religious
Subject:
Experience (religion)
Subject:
Experience
Subject:
Conversion
Subject:
Spirituality - General
Subject:
Psychology : General
Subject:
Religious
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Series:
Great Books in Philosophy
Series Volume:
107-176
Publication Date:
20021031
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Language:
English
Pages:
552
Dimensions:
8.4 x 5.4 x 1.1 in 1.4 lb

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Related Subjects

» Health and Self-Help » Health and Medicine » General
» Health and Self-Help » Health and Medicine » General Medicine
» Health and Self-Help » Psychology » General
» History and Social Science » Politics » Leftist Studies
» Humanities » Philosophy » General
» Religion » Comparative Religion » General
» Religion » Comparative Religion » Spirituality

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