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Scholars Reevaluate the Significance of William James' 'The Varieties of Religious Experience'

One hundred years after the publication of William James' "The Varieties of Religious Experience," the Center for the Study of Science and Religion and the John Templeton Foundation brought together a group of influential scholars to reevaluate the significance of the classic work that analyzes religious experience within the context of psychology and philosophy.

Ann Taves
 
Ann Taves

Ann Taves Examined 'The Fragmentation of Consciousness' and 'The Varieties of Religious Experience: William James' Contributions to a Theory of Religion'
Anne Taves, professor of history of Christianity and American religion at the Claremont School of Theology and winner of the 2000 Association of American Publishers Award for Best Scholarly Book in Philosophy and Religion, said that "The Varieties of Religious Experience" asks central questions about the function and origin of religion.

Real (50:33)Video
David Hollinger
 
David Hollinger

David Hollinger: 'Damned for God's Glory: William James and the Scientific Vindication of Protestant Culture'
David Hollinger, Chancellor's Professor of History at the University of California, Berkeley, and author of "Science, Jews, and Secular Culture" and "Postethnic America: Beyond Multiculturalism," interpreted "The Varieties of Religious Experience" as the product of the particular phase of James' career when he was shifting from one strategy to another in defense of central aspects of the culture of liberal Protestantism.

Real (59:39)Video
Jerome Bruner
 
Jerome Bruner

Jerome Bruner Discussed 'The Varieties of Ordinary Experience'
Jerome Bruner, University Professor at New York University and author of "Making Stories: Law, Literature, Life," said James achieved pervasive influence within the field. Bruner said James' pragmatic outlook has become implicit and endemic in American influential thought, and that pragmatism led to contructivism in the human science -- the notion that social construction is reality; that reality is made, not found.

Real (51:00)Video
Wayne Proudfoot
 
Wayne Proudfoot

Wayne Proudfoot Looked at 'Pragmatism and an Unseen Order in Varieties'
Columbia Religion Professor Wayne Proudfoot, author of "God and Self" and "Religious Experience," offered his view of "Varities" as a site of interaction between two strategies -- separating science and religion and bringing science and religion together under one umbrella, either in support or conflict.

Real (47:08)Video

Published: Aug 19, 2002
Last modified:Sep 18, 2002