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Religious Experience Reconsidered:
A Building-Block Approach to the Study of Religion and Other Special Things
Ann Taves

Book Description | Table of Contents
Introduction [in PDF format]

ADDITIONAL REVIEWS:

"By providing an inventive and relatively accessible set of . . . building blocks, [Taves] allows those of us who study religion and religious practices to do so within manageable, malleable and happily imaginative frameworks--something so important to many mired in the same old trough. Replete with charts and illustrations that clarify these building blocks even more, Taves' work is a particular boon to any interested in examining the 'specialness' of liturgical experiences with fresh eyes."--Edward Foley, Worship

"Taves speaks and thinks across a broad chasm: she labors skillfully, logically, and methodically to hammer out a set of analytical tools and theoretical vocabularies that will allow scholars of religion to converse with the sciences, in particular with cognitive scientists and neuroscientists."--Jennifer Scheper Hughes, Anglican and Episcopal History

"Taves' study is important in the discourse of the phenomenon of religion, but also in the conversation between faith and science. It clearly illustrates how difficult a task it is to study religion without losing the value of that which is believed and understood as being the sacred."--G. A. Duncan, Studia Historiae Ecclesiasticae

ADDITIONAL ENDORSEMENTS:

"Ann Taves's ambition in this lucid, elegantly structured, and prodigiously researched work is to render transparent the cultural, sociological, and psychological processes by which certain experiences are deemed religious--and she succeeds admirably. With its deft deployment--and creative integration--of recent theories of mind and culture, the social and the psychological, Religious Experience Reconsidered will quickly establish itself as an indispensable resource for those of us determined to think past the otiose boundary between 'inner' experience and 'outer' environment that so bedevils scholarship in religious studies. Historians, anthropologists, and psychologists of religion will find this a stimulating and generative work, a helpful conversation partner in their own researches."--Robert A. Orsi, author of Between Heaven and Earth: The Religious Worlds People Make and the Scholars Who Study Them

"Taves deals, at one and the same time, with two of the most pressing and contentious issues in the field of religious studies today: the viability of the term 'religion' as a category of critical scholarly inquiry, and the potential contributions and challenges of cognitive neuroscience to the humanistic study of religious experience. Religious Experience Reconsidered is an erudite, provocative, timely, and significant contribution to the theoretical underpinnings of the discipline of religious studies writ large."--Robert Sharf, University of California, Berkeley

"Taves offers a clear introduction to important debates and contested issues in the study of religious experience and a thoughtful and constructive position on these issues. Religious Experience Reconsidered makes an important contribution and should stimulate further discussion on this topic. I don't know of any other book like it."--Wayne Proudfoot, Columbia University

"This is a terrific book. The basic message is that cognitive science and neuroscience aren't scary but useful, and humanists can not only understand the ideas but see their relevance, engage with their authors, and contribute to their literature. Taves exemplifies the interdisciplinary spirit in which such work must take place."--Tanya Marie Luhrmann, Stanford University

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File created: 9/9/2014

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