The Varieties of Religious Experience

The Varieties of Religious Experience

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Considered one of the great intellectual achievements of the twentieth century, James’s influential book seeks to shift the emphasis in the study of religion and psychology from the dogmas and external forms of religion to the unique mental states associated with it.

This notable and influential study of the psychology of religion asserts that instead of the tenants of organized religion, we should look to the individual religious experiences as the foundations of religious life. As such, James makes his case with the religious accounts of various well-known thinkers throughout history, applying an analytic clarity to their stories and developing a pluralistic framework that defines the divine as a group of, rather than one single, qualities. The Varieties of Religious Experience presents readers with an intellectual, rather than emotional, call for both religious tolerance and respect.
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  • Touchstone | 
  • 416 pages | 
  • ISBN 9780743257879 | 
  • May 2004
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Introduction

A popular edition of William James' justly renowned Varieties of Religious Experience is very useful because the attitude and method of the study, which made it a milestone in religious thought when James first delivered the substance of the volume as the famous "Gifford Lectures" at the University of Edinburgh at the turn of the century, represent as rare a combination in our day as sixty years ago. The combination is not only rare but creative. For James combines a positive approach to religion with a non-dogmatic and thoroughly empirical approach to the religious life and various types of religious... see more

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