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The Varieties of Religious Experience

James, William

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ISBN 10: 0451620690 / ISBN 13: 9780451620699
Published by Signet
Condition: Good Soft cover
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0451620690 Meets the good condition guidelines. Has some writing/highlighting. Tear on cover. Has wear. Five star seller - Buy with confidence!. Bookseller Inventory # Z0451620690Z3

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Bibliographic Details

Title: The Varieties of Religious Experience

Publisher: Signet

Binding: MASS MARKET PAPERBACK

Book Condition:Good

About this title

Synopsis:

"A milestone in religious thought. . . . James combines a positive approach to religion with a non-dogmatic and thoroughly empirical approach to the religious life. The combination is not only rare but creative." -Reinhold Niebuhr

Philosopher and psychologist William James championed the value of individual experience with an eloquence and zeal that placed him beside Emerson and Whitman as a classic exponent of American democratic culture. In The Varieties of Religious Experience he takes on "the very inner citadel of human life" by focusing on intensely religious individuals from different cultures and eras, in order to explore from within how religion enriches human lives.

For almost thirty years, The Library of America has presented America's best and most significant writing in acclaimed hardcover editions. Now, a new series, Library of America Paperback Classics, offers attractive and affordable books that bring The Library of America's authoritative texts within easy reach of every reader. Each book features an introductory essay by one of a leading writer, as well as a detailed chronology of the author's life and career, an essay on the choice and history of the text, and notes.

The contents of this Paperback Classic are drawn from William James: Writings 1902-1910, volume number 38 in the Library of America series. That volume is joined in the series by a companion volume, number 58, William James: Writings 1878-1899.

Review:

"I am neither a theologian, nor a scholar learned in the history of religions, nor an anthropologist. Psychology is the only branch of learning in which I am particularly versed. To the psychologist the religious propensities of man must be at least as interesting as any other of the facts pertaining to his mental constitution. It would seem, therefore, as a psychologist, the natural thing for me would be to invite you to a descriptive survey of those religious propensities."

When William James went to the University of Edinburgh in 1901 to deliver a series of lectures on "natural religion," he defined religion as "the feelings, acts, and experiences of individual men in their solitude, so far as they apprehend themselves to stand in relation to whatever they may consider the divine." Considering religion, then, not as it is defined by--or takes place in--the churches, but as it is felt in everyday life, he undertook a project that, upon completion, stands not only as one of the most important texts on psychology ever written, not only as a vitally serious contemplation of spirituality, but for many critics one of the best works of nonfiction written in the 20th century. Reading The Varieties of Religious Experience, it is easy to see why. Applying his analytic clarity to religious accounts from a variety of sources, James elaborates a pluralistic framework in which "the divine can mean no single quality, it must mean a group of qualities, by being champions of which in alternation, different men may all find worthy missions." It's an intellectual call for serious religious tolerance--indeed, respect--the vitality of which has not diminished through the subsequent decades.

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