The Varieties of Religious Experience Summary & Study Guide

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Lectures 1-3

In the first two lectures, James sets the ground rules or parameters of the topic he will be discussing. He begins with definitions and establishes the fact that his lectures are not based on anthropological evidence or studies but rather on personal documents that relay personal experience. He states that as he is neither a theologian nor a scholar in the history of religion, his talks are based on "a descriptive survey" of religious tendencies that exhibit themselves through the examples he offers.

James also discusses how he defines religious experience through the emotion of excitement, which offers immediate delight and dispenses enough good feeling to affect a good portion of the individual's life. Unlike the scientific dialogue of his time in regards to religious experience, he does not judge an individual as mentally deranged merely because that person has an unexplainable incident. Rather, he looks...

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This section contains 1,563 words
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