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Center for the Study of Science and Religion Celebrates Centennial of 'The Varieties of Religious Experience'

One hundred years after the publication of William James' "The Varieties of Religious Experience," a group of influential scholars will gather on the Columbia campus Sunday and Monday, March 24 and 25, to reevaluate the significance of the classic work that analyzes religious experience within the context of psychology and philosophy.

Named one of the top five influential books of non-fiction of the past century, "The Varieties of Religious Experience" continues to attract controversy for its bold and provocative claims, particularly James' proposition for a "science of religions".

Hosted by the Columbia Center for the Study of Science and Religion, the two-day colloquium is free and open to the public. Support has been provided by the John Templeton Foundation as part of the Templeton Research Lectures on the Constructive Engagement of Science and Religion.

Among the speakers will be:

  • Jerome Bruner, New York University. Author of "Making Stories: Law, Literature, Life"
  • David Hollinger: University of California, Berkeley. Author of "Science, Jews, and Secular Culture" and "Postethnic America: Beyond Multiculturalism."
  • Wayne Proudfoot: Columbia University. Author of "God and Self" and "Religious Experience," which won the 1986 American Academy of Religion Award for Excellence.
  • Richard Rorty, Stanford University. Author of "Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature," "Contingency, Irony and Solidarity" and "Achieving Our Country."
  • Anne Taves, Claremont School of Theology. Winner of the 2000 Association of American Publishers Award for Best Scholarly Book in Philosophy and Religion.

The colloquium will take place at 555 Alfred Lerner Hall. The sessions on Sunday, March 24, will begin with Hollinger, speaking on "Damned for God's Glory: William James and the Scientific Vindication of Protestant Culture" at 2:00 p.m., followed by Proudfoot at 4:00 p.m. on "Pragmatism and 'an unseen order' in Varieties."

The colloquium will continue on Monday, March 25, at 9:00 a.m., with Taves, speaking on "The Fragmentation of Consciousness" and "The Varieties of Religious Experience: William James's Contributions to a Theory of Religion." Jerome Bruner will discuss "The Varieties of Ordinary Experience" at 10:45 a.m. The final session with Rorty, on "Some Inconsistencies in James' Varieties," will begin at 1:30 p.m.

Click for more information, or call 854-9050 to register.

Published: Mar 22, 2002
Last modified:Sep 18, 2002

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