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Extended Audio Sample The Varieties of Religious Experience, by William James Click for printable size audiobook cover
4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (4,000 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: William James Narrator: John Pruden Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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First published in 1905, The Varieties of Religious Experience is a collection of lectures given at the University of Edinburgh in 1901 and 1902. William James was a psychologist, and, as such, his interest in religion was not that of a theologian but of a scientist. In these twenty lectures, he discusses the nature and origin of religious belief.

The average believer is one who has inherited his religion, but this will not do for James’ inquiry. He must find those believers who have a voracious religious faith, because these people have also often experienced a number of peculiar psychological episodes, including visions, voices, and falling into trances.

Students of psychology and those interested in the mental process of belief will find these lectures informative.

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Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Ronald Lett | 2/18/2014

    " An interestingly objective viewpoint on religious philosophy, at least as restricted to personal, uniquely religious mindsets. The author includes a plethora of genuinely interesting excerpts from individual monologues related to the topic that do serve to illustrate his eventual position. However, given the date of the material (1902), most of the tools necessary for hard exploration of the topic in the fashion that the author's position necessitates have yet to be developed. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Benjamin | 2/10/2014

    " James does an admirable job analyzing what is essential to the religious sensibility at the beginning of the 20th century, which, as should be expected, produces many results that are still relevant today, and many that are not (especially for non-Christians). "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 by Neil Mudde | 1/30/2014

    " A very interesting book giving different backgrounds as to how people believe, historically "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 by Adih Respati | 1/28/2014

    " I was very much looking forward to reading James' Varieties, so when found one I took a read in an instant. But the book isn't as daring as I thought it would be. James' words on atheism are political at best, rather than outspoken. But this book is dubbed historical, so I should, for the time being, be suspicious of my disappointment; and try to find another time to read it for the second time --see if history turned out to be right, and that I missed many things on the first read. "

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About the Author
Author William James

William James (1842–1910), brother of novelist Henry James, was an American psychologist, philosopher, a groundbreaking researcher at Harvard University, and one of the most popular thinkers of the nineteenth century. Among his many works are Principles of Psychology and Human Immortality.