- The most critically up-to-date and inclusive edition of this classic survey of religious belief, embracing the interdisciplinary nature of a work that fuses philosophy, psychology, religion, and literary studies, and emphasizing its wide appeal.
- James's work is more relevant than ever in its consideration of the effect of religious ideas on daily life, and atheists who attack religion with 'religious zeal'.
- Introduction stresses the book's significance in the relationship between religion and culture, instituting a new approach to religious belief, discusses its ideas and their contemporary interest, as well as contextualizing the book within James's biographical, intellectual, and literary background.
- Explanatory notes identify key figures and contexts, and provides links with James's other work.
- Includes a completely updated index, expanded and corrected from the original index provided by Joyce in 1902.
'By their fruits ye shall know them, not by their roots.'
The Varieties of Religious Experience (1902) is William James's classic survey of religious belief in its most personal, and often its most heterodox, aspects. Asking questions such as how we define evil to ourselves, the difference between a healthy and a divided mind, the value of saintly behaviour, and what animates and characterizes the mental landscape of sudden conversion, James's masterpiece stands at a unique moment in the relationship between belief and culture. Faith in institutional religion and dogmatic theology was fading away, and the search for an authentic religion rooted in personality and subjectivity was a project conducted as an urgent necessity. With psychological insight, philosophical rigour, and a determination not to jump to the conclusion that in tracing religion's mental causes we necessarily diminish its truth or value, in the Varieties James wrote a truly foundational text for modern belief.
Matthew Bradley's wide-ranging new edition examines the ideas that continue to fuel modern debates on atheism and faith.
Readership: Readers of philosophy and religion, students of philosophy, psychology, philosophy of religion, theology, English and American literature, and cross-disciplinary courses in all of these, especially literature and religion.