Religious Experience

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University of California Press, 1987 M09 14 - 290 pages
How is religious experience to be identified, described, analyzed and explained? Is it independent of concepts, beliefs, and practices? How can we account for its authority? Under what conditions might a person identify his or her experience as religious? Wayne Proudfoot shows that concepts, beliefs, and linguistic practices are presupposed by the rules governing this identification of an experience as religious. Some of these characteristics can be understood by attending to the conditions of experience, among which are beliefs about how experience is to be explained.

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Contents

II Interpretation
41
III Emotion
75
IV Mysticism
119
V Explication
155
VI Explanation
190
Conclusion
228
Notes
237
References
249
Index
261
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Page 84 - My theory, on the contrary, is that the bodily changes follow directly the perception of the exciting fact, and that our feeling of the same changes as they occur is the emotion. Common sense says, we lose our fortune, are sorry and weep; we meet a bear, are frightened and run; we are insulted by a rival, are angry and strike. The hypothesis here to be defended says that this order of sequence is incorrect...
Page 116 - Damascus, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?" He asked, "Who are you, Lord?
Page 82 - A passion is an original existence, or, if you will, modification of existence, and contains not any representative quality, which renders it a copy of any other existence or modification. When I am angry, I am actually possest with the passion, and in that emotion have no more a reference to any other object, than when I am thirsty, or sick, or more than five foot high.
Page 106 - And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams; 18yes, and on my menservants and my maidservants in those days I will pour out my Spirit; and they shall prophesy.
Page 30 - Here is one possibility: words are connected with the primitive, the natural, expressions of the sensation and used in their place. A child has hurt himself and he cries; and then adults talk to him and teach him exclamations and, later, sentences. They teach the child new pain-behaviour. "So you are saying that the word 'pain
Page 117 - In the evening I went very unwillingly to a society in Aldersgate street, where one was reading Luther's preface to the Epistle to the Romans. About a quarter before nine, while he was describing the change which God works in the heart through faith in Christ, I felt my heart strangely warmed. I felt I did trust in Christ, Christ alone, for salvation ; and an assurance was given me that he had taken away my sins, even mine, and saved me from the law of sin...
Page 15 - The sum total of religion is to feel that, in its highest unity, all that moves us in feeling is one; to feel that aught single and particular is only possible by means of this unity; to feel, that is to say, that our being and living is a being and living in and through God.
Page 153 - rational' beliefs are based on evidence exactly similar in nature to that which mystics quote for theirs. Our senses, namely, have assured us of certain states of fact; but mystical experiences are as direct perceptions of fact for those who have them as any sensations ever were for us.
Page 67 - The essence of belief is the establishment of a habit, and different beliefs are distinguished by the different modes of action to which they give rise.

About the author (1987)

Wayne Proudfoot is Professor of Religion at Columbia University.

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