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Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Came across a fascinating 1999 treatise on "Experiencing Religion and Explaining Experience from Wesley to James" by Ann Taves covering 1740-1820 "formalism, enthusiasm and true religion," 1820-1890 "popular psychology and popular religion," 1886-1910 "religion and the subconscious."

A good compliment would be Coleen McDonnel's "Material Christianity".


Blogger A.D.S. said...

"Fits, Trances, and Visions" is a psychohistory of Anglo-American demonology, folk psychology, and religious practice. Experience as described, decried, and contested, in the interweaving of theory and practice. Competing traditions employ more and more secular explanations to deny each others' validity.

Three architypal figures: the enthusiast, the "clairvoyant somnambule," and the multiple

Notable players: animal magnitism, mesmerism, spirits, disestablishment, "Shouting Methodists," the holy spirit, ... , hypnosis, hysteria, and dissociation.

A taste:
"experience cannot be separated from the communities of discourse and practice that give rise to it without becoming something else."

Surely a dense work, heavily endnoted, but mostly reads quite well. Of course, sociocultural-historical psychology is an interest of mine so the book will have to stand on being a sophisticated analysis of a piece of Euro-American religious history and a "Contribution to a Naturalistic Theory of Involuntary Acts."

October 13, 2004 at 11:53 PM  

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