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The Study of Religious Experience

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The renowned scientist Sir Alister Hardy approached the complex field of religious and spiritual experience in a similar disciplined and scientific manner in which he approached natural science. Asking people from the public to send him accounts of first-hand experiences with spiritual or religious powers he established the Religious Experience Research Centre that has remained at the forefront of the academic study of religious experiences. This book will take his work forward and show how to study religious and spiritual experiences in the 21st century.

The Study of Religious Experience aims to show how a range of disciplines - including anthropology, philosophy, religious studies, theology, biblical studies and history - approach the topic religious experience, how this approach is applied and what contributions they make to the study of religious experience.

Published: Aug 25, 2016

Section Chapter Authors
Foreword Peggy Morgan
Acknowledgements Bettina Schmidt
Introduction Bettina Schmidt
Section One: Anthropoligical Approaches to the Study of Religion
1. How to Study Religious Experience: Historical and Methodological Reflections on the Study of the Paranormal Fiona Bowie
2. Ethnological and Neurophenomenological Approaches to Religious Experiences Michael Winkleman
Section Two: Methodological Challenges for the Study of Religious Experience
3. Fieldwork and Embodied Knowledge: Researching the Experiences of Spirit Mediums in the Brazilian Vale do Amanhecer Emily Pierini
4. Cultural-Linguistic Constructivism and the Challenge of Near-Death and Out-of-Body Experiences Gregory Shushan
5. Provincializing Religious Experience; Methodological Challenges to the Study of Religious Experiences in Brazil Bettina Schmidt
Section Three: Theological and Philosophical Approaches to the Study of Religious Experience
6. Immediate Revelation or the Basest Idolatry? Theology and Religious Experience Robert Pope
7. An Argument from Religious Experience: Origins and Revelations Tristan Nash
Section Four: Reflections on Types of Religious Experience
8. Text and Experience: Reflections on 'Seeing' in the Gospel of John Catrin Williams
9. Music as Spiritual Experience June Boyce-Tillman
10. Is it Possible to Have a ‘Religious Experience’ in Cyberspace? Gary Bunt
End Matter
Bibliography Bettina Schmidt
Index Bettina Schmidt


A rich and welcome addition to the literature which has something for anyone with a serious interest in this area of investigation.
Professor Peggy Morgan, Mansfield College, University of Oxford

Altogether, this is a most useful publication and a valuable addition to the literature. The book illustrates very well the signal importance of approaching the phenomenon of religious experience from a variety of disciplinary methods and insights. It deserves to be widely read.
De Numine

This book is absolutely ideal for experienced researchers or writers who seek a scholarly interpretation on how the study of religious experience has been incorporated into fields as diverse as psychology, anthropology, theology, and religion.
Reading Religion