Publication date:10 November 2005
Length of book:240 pages
PublisherRowman & Littlefield Publishers
First published in 1902, William James's Varieties of Religious Experience is considered a classic in religious studies and the psychology of religion. But how has James's classic study weathered decades of development in psychology and behavioral sciences? Do the assertions about religious experience in the Varieties still ring true in light of neuro-cognitive and neuro-hormonal research, resiliency studies, studies of temperament, and traumatic studies? By extending William James's own research throughout the century since its publication this volume seeks to answer those questions. In doing so, it revolutionizes our understanding of James's own view of psychology and reveals the extraordinary value of James's perspective for religion, psychology, and spirituality today. In doing so, it offers vital insights for pastoral care and faith development at both the individual and congregational level. From the Introduction by James Fowler: Drawing on the authenticity of her own experience, Bridgers carries us into a remarkably clear and well documented account that traces William James's evolution as a psychologist, philosopher, and a deeply engaged inquirer into the dynamics of spiritual development and transformation... This book has a major contribution to make. Bridgers's study illumines the horizons of contemporary research in the study of religious experience, in all its varieties, and in the context of globalization.
In Contemporary Varieties of Religious Experience, Lynn Bridgers's agile mind wields the conceptual tools of psychology, theology, and history to make original connections and draw gifted insights, while avoiding easy reductionism. Contemporary Varieties is a clear standout in the area of recent scholarship on William James and religion.