Wonder: From Emotion to Spirituality / Edition 1

Paperback (Print)
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $1.99
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 92%)
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (8) from $1.99   
  • New (4) from $7.34   
  • Used (4) from $1.99   


The attempt to identify the emotional sources of religion goes back to antiquity. In an exploration that bridges science and spirituality, Robert C. Fuller makes the convincing case that a sense of wonder is a principal source of humanity's belief in the existence of an unseen order of life. Like no other emotion, Fuller argues, wonder prompts us to pause, admire, and open our hearts and minds.

With a voice that seamlessly blends the scientific and the contemplative, Fuller defines wonder in keeping with the tradition of Socrates—as an emotion related to curiosity and awe that stimulates engagement with the immediate physical world. He draws on the natural and social sciences to explain how wonder can, at the same time, elicit belief in the existence of a more-than-physical reality. Chapters examining emotions in evolutionary biology and the importance of wonder in human cognitive development alternate with chapters on John Muir, William James, and Rachel Carson, whom Fuller identifies as "exemplars of wonder." The writings and lives of these individuals express a functional side of emotion: that the very survival of life on earth today may depend on the empathy, compassion, and care that are aroused by a sense of wonder.

Forging new pathways between the social sciences, philosophy, belief, and cultural history, Wonder deepens our understanding of the complex sources of personal spirituality and fulfillment.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
A cohesive, carefully written, and valuable exposition of the elemental importance of wonder as a component of spirituality. . . . Fuller expertly weaves together research in neurobiology, anthropology, and sociology to illustrate his claims about the workings of wonder as an emotional experience, so that when he finally places his own book within the larger project to understand 'spirituality in the flesh,' he has earned the reader's esteem by the care with which he establishes his categories.—Journal of Religion
Publishers Weekly
It seems self-contradictory that one could write tediously about wonder, but religious studies scholar Fuller (Spiritual but Not Religious: Understanding Unchurched America) manages to do just that as he chronicles the study of wonder's evolutionary-adaptive uses in Darwin's The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals and its ethical applications in philosopher Martha Nussbaum's writings on emotions. Wonder opens us to an unseen world beyond ourselves, Fuller observes, permitting us to think of wonder more as a religious sensibility than an emotion. Fuller offers short case studies-of John Muir, William James and Rachel Carson-to show how these three saw the world around them as an ineffable mystery whose organic unity calls for an experience of wonder rather than a cold scientific explanation. Fuller prosaically concludes that wonder functions as a neurophysiological response to unexpected events and that it seeks to penetrate what can't be seen; thus, wonder is "one of the principal sources of belief in an unseen order." Fuller's book is repetitious-he relates the story about the lack of the word "wonder" in psychology textbooks three times in close succession-and reveals little compelling or new information. 3 illus. (Feb. 27) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780807859612
  • Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press
  • Publication date: 2/1/2009
  • Edition description: 1
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 200
  • Sales rank: 1,386,142
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Robert C. Fuller is Caterpillar Professor of Religious Studies at Bradley University and author of ten books, including Religious Revolutionaries: The Rebels Who Reshaped American Religion and Spiritual, But Not Religious: Understanding Unchurched America.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Preface vii

Acknowledgments ix

1 Introduction 1

2 Emotion and Evolution 16

3 A Life Shaped by Wonder: John Muir 42

4 Adaptation and Humanity's Appetite for Wonder 54

5 A Life Shaped by Wonder: William James 69

6 Wonder and Psychological Development 80

7 A Life Shaped by Wonder: Rachel Carson 101

8 Experience and Personal Transformation 110

9 Wonder, Emotion, and the Religious Sensibility 135

Notes 159

Suggestions for Further Reading 183

Index 185

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)