The Varieties of Religious Experience Read Online Free - Being the Gifford Lectures on Natural Religion Delivered in Edinburgh 1901/2
"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 Wm James went to the University of Edinburgh to deliver a lecture series on "natural religion," he defined religion as "the feelings, acts & 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's defined by or takes place in the churches, but as it's felt in everyday life, he undertook a project that, upon completion, stands not only as one of the most important texts on psychology, not only as a vitally serious contemplation of spirituality, but for many one of the best works of nonfiction written in the 20th century. Reading The Varieties of Religious Experience, it's easy to see why. Applying his analytic clarity to religious accounts from various sources, he 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 remains undiminished.
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May 23, 2013
I wanted to like this classic book, but I can't do it: too many things are wrong. A shame, because I completely approve of the idea. William James, writing around the end of the 19th century, sets out to take a cool look at how people experience religious feeling, basing his investigation on stat...
December 29, 2015
“There are two lives, the natural and the spiritual, and we must lose the one before we can participate in the other.”
― William James, The Varieties of Religious Experience
The amazing thing about James is he can write with precision and humility about something so completely intrinsic and fraugh...
October 29, 2009
I have heard of this book for years and have meant to look into it for about as long – but earlier this year I read a book called Ghost Hunters William James and the Search for Scientific Proof of Life After Death and that made me more curious about James and his philosophy. I had read some of hi...
May 27, 2010
A classic of course, still potent and assured. I return to it for its look at the realism of the 'sick soul'. It comforts me.
It is not religion that is the concern here. Human emotions and feelings are the focus. How these influence a personality could as equally underlay their political orientat...
December 30, 2014
Foreword to the Centenary Edition, by Micky James
Introduction: The Spiritual Roots of James's 'Varieties of Religious Experience'
Introduction: The Return to James: Psychology, Religion and the Amnesia of Neuroscience
Preface from the 1902 Edition
--The Varieties of Religious Experie...
December 04, 2013
Most people seem to think this book is important for the light it sheds on religion, or perhaps as an advancement in the field of religious studies. However, I would argue that this book's real significance lies in James' respect for our conscious experiences of things as the origin of real truth...
December 16, 2013
Being derived from public lectures, The Varieties of Religious Experience is neither a particularly deep nor demanding book. It is, however, both beautifully written and clearly expressed--hallmarks of James' style. Informally unsystematic, the painless effort of going through it will likely pres...
September 02, 2015
It's impressive how well this book has withstood the passage of time. More than a century after its publication, it continues, on the whole, to feel extremely fresh and insightful, compared with the works of some other psychologists whom I could name. Like ... people whose name rhymes with "Kroid...
February 23, 2009
"I fear that my general philosophic position received so scant a statement as to hardly be intelligible"
That about sums up this text for me. Although the language is beautiful, I never really got a understanding of what the author was trying to prove.
A more apt title for this book is probably "T...
June 17, 2017
later later addition: reading chapter on james in evasion of philosophy, on american pragmatism, certainly inspires more reading of his work. does not directly mention much of this text, but reveals his and others, pierce, emerson, dewey, all influenced by, all noted, christianity as baseline to...