The Varieties of Religious Experience: A Study in Human Nature

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Overview

Paving the way for all modern spiritual thought, The Varieties of Religious Experience was revolutionary in its view of religious life as centered not within the Church, but solely within the person. James, a vivid, subtle stylist writing for the skeptical, nonspecialist reader, was the first to define spirituality as "the feelings, acts, and experiences of individual men in their solitude." In this edition, scholars Taylor and Carrette bring a new understanding to James's life and his determination, in the cold, scientific face of the Industrial Revolution, to reaffirm the power of individual belief.

One hundred years after its publication James's work remains even more vital than before. Beyond its influence on the founding of Alcoholics Anonymous, beyond its influence on launching the American pastoral counseling movement, and beyond its role in spawning the psychology of religion, it remains a book that empowers individuals and inspires readers with erudition, insight, and kindness. No discussion of current religion - from the fundamentalist revival to the New Age movement - is complete without an appreciation of this groundbreaking work.

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Editorial Reviews

Mind, New Series, Vol. 12, No. 46 (Apr., 1903) - H. Rashdall
That the book is one of the highest interest, that extraordinary industry and research have been employed in collecting these records from the religious literature of all ages and faiths, that Prof. James's comments upon them are characterised by all his accustomed charm of style, vivacity and open-mindedness, is unquestionable
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781597403108
  • Publisher: ACLS History E-Book Project
  • Publication date: 1/28/2009
  • Pages: 548
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.38 (d)

Meet the Author

Older brother of novelist Henry James, William James (1842-1910) was a philosopher, psychologist, physiologist, and professor at Harvard. James has influenced such twentieth-century thinkers as Richard Rorty, Jurgen Habermans, Michel Foucault, and Julia Kristeva.

Martin Marty, one of today’s most respected theologians, is professor emeritus at the University of Chicago, where the Martin Marty Center has been founded to promote public religion endeavors. His more than fifty books include Modern American Religion. He is a winner of the National Book Award and was the first religion scholar to receive the National Humanities Medal.

Martin Marty, one of today’s most respected theologians, is professor emeritus at the University of Chicago, where the Martin Marty Center has been founded to promote public religion endeavors. His more than fifty books include Modern American Religion. He is a winner of the National Book Award and was the first religion scholar to receive the National Humanities Medal.

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Table of Contents

Preface

Introduction

Lecture 1 - Religion and Neurology

Lecture 2 - Circumscription of the Topic

Lecture 3 - The Reality of the Unseen

Lecture 4-5 - The Religion of Healthy-Mindedness

Lecture 6-7 - The Sick Soul

Lecture 8 - The Divided Self, and the Process of its Unification

Lecture 9 - Conversion

Lecture 10 - Conversion-concluded

Lecture 11-13 - Saintliness

Lecture 14-15 - The Value of Saintliness

Lecture 16-17 - Mysticism

Lecture 18 - Philosophy

Lecture 19 - Other Characteristics

Lecture 20 - Conclusion

Postscript

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 9 of 7 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 2, 2002

    The triumph of the twice -born soul

    This work collects together religious experience from a wide diversity of cultures.It presents the remarkable personal transformations of a good share of mankind's most remarkable souls.One of them is James himself who recounts anonymously the story of his own depression and mental struggle.This book touches many areas of thought and study, psychology , philosophy, mystical perception, religious experience and thought .It does have its general conclusion in which James does try to summarize the twice - born experience, and the experience of one who has met God ( at least in their own perception ) and lived to tell the tale. James seems to feel that in terms of doctrinal conclusions most of the people somehow take out what they have already come in with, but in a new revived way. From the point of view of Jewish religious thought which is what I have most studied it seems to me there is a clear distinction between Jewish mystical religious encounter, and much other.And this because Jewish thinkers are very reluctant to argue that there has been a complete union with God but always tend to feel that God 's transcendent dimension remains supreme. In any case this is one of the great books of religious thought and cannot come more highly recommended.James writes very clearly with a real sense of the reader's need to understand what is being written about.My guess is that in this he worked very hard as he did in other aspects of his life to act in a way much different from that ethereal and somewhat confused and confusing Swedenborgian mystic, his father. Who reads this book not only reads a man, but reads much of what is in the religious soul and aspiration of Mankind.

    6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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