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The American Religious Experience offers a short, accessible introduction to American religious history by an award-winning writer. Recognizing the inter-denominational, inter-religious and multi-cultural perspectives that all contribute to the American religious landscape, this book explores the tension between the central, dominant streams of American Christianity and those groups relegated to the periphery. On the edges of the American mainstream we find the histories of groups rooted in visionary traditions, emotionalized forms of religious practice, and ever-expanding ethnic and racial perspectives. The complexity of the religious scene in the United States now, ongoing tensions between identity and diversity, and the many voices that inform American religious practice today grow directly out of the dynamic history that unfolds in these pages.
First published in 1902, William James's Varieties of Religious Experience is considered a classic in religious studies and the psychology of religion. But how has James's classic study weathered decades of development in psychology and behavioral sciences? Do the assertions about religious experience in the Varieties still ring true in light of neuro-cognitive and neuro-hormonal research, resiliency studies, studies of temperament, and traumatic studies? By extending William James's own research throughout the century since its publication this volume seeks to answer those questions. In doing so, it revolutionizes our understanding of James's own view of psychology and reveals the extraordinary value of James's perspective for religion, psychology, and spirituality today. In doing so, it offers vital insights for pastoral care and faith development at both the individual and congregational level. From the Introduction by James Fowler: Drawing on the authenticity of her own experience, Bridgers carries us into a remarkably clear and well documented account that traces William James's evolution as a psychologist, philosopher, and a deeply engaged inquirer into the dynamics of spiritual development and transformation... This book has a major contribution to make. Bridgers's study illumines the horizons of contemporary research in the study of religious experience, in all its varieties, and in the context of globalization.