Skip to main content
The Varieties of Religious Experience: A Study in Human Nature

The Varieties of Religious Experience: A Study in Human Nature

Current price: $62.99
This product is not returnable.
Publication Date: August 29th, 2008
ACLS History E-Book Project


2021 Reprint of the 1902 Edition. One of the greatest philosophical minds America ever produced, William James had a genius for the concrete and vivid phrase. He could make the most abstruse of theories at once clear and vivacious. The Varieties of Religious Experience is one of his most brilliant works. In this classic on the psychology of the religious impulse, William James studies such religious phenomena as conversion, repentance, mysticism, saintliness, the hopes of reward and the fears of punishment. He presents his arguments with boldness, sympathy, and the common sense of science.

As Jacques Barzun, the distinguished scholar, points out, "The reader of The Varieties will not find James a conventional 'scientist' who uses the facts of physiology or psychology to explain away the facts of religious life . . . As a student of religion, he has illuminated a wonderful variety of recorded experiences by grouping, comparing, and analyzing them. His categories have become standard in the study of religions and indeed have passed into common speech."

The result is a book that has become a living force in religious literature. "William James is original, exciting and cosmopolitan . . . a major philosophical planet who whirled on his own axis and drew all of the other pragmatic luminaries into his powerful field."-Morton White, The Age of Analysis. Contents: Religion and neurology -- Circumscription of the topic -- The reality of the unseen -- The religion of healthy-mindedness -- The sick soul -- The divided self, and the process of its unification -- Conversion -- Conversion - concluded -- Saintliness -- The value of saintliness -- Mysticism -- Philosophy -- Other characteristics -- Conclusions -- Postscript.