The Problem of Religious Experience
For a long time, the philosophically difficult topic of religious experience has been on the sidelines of phenomenological research (with a notable exception of Anthony Steinbock, who focused on mysticism). The book The Problem of Religious Experience: Case Studies in Phenomenology, with Reflections and Commentaries brings together preeminent as well as emerging voices in the field, with fresh views on the topic. Originating from dialogues of the Society for the Phenomenology of Religious Experience, these two volumes cover a spectrum of phenomenological approaches, with a thematization of the field in the form of case studies. Contributions from theology, comparative religion, psychology and the philosophy of religion come together in the commentaries and meta-narrative written by Olga Louchakova-Schwartz (the editor). Volume I, The Primeval Showing of Religious Experience , examines religious experience with regard to its lived 'interiority', in light of the problem of the ego cogito , including the recent research on the embodiment of subjectivity and phenomenological materiality. Volume I also sheds light on religious experience in regard for the problems of its constitution, passive synthesis, the world, and otherness. Volume II, Doxastic Perspectives in the Phenomenology of Religious Experience , addresses the phenomenology of revelation, shows how different approaches treat the question of essence in religious experience (i.e., what is it that makes religious experience religious?), and demonstrates how religious experience contributes to the psychological horizon of meaning. The book identifies the 'growing edges' in the phenomenological research of religious experience and is useful for psychologists, philosophers, and theologians alike. 'The two volumes offer an excellent interdisciplinary introduction to the phenomenon of religious experience. The case studies presented in them are arranged under the central topics of self, alterity, revelation, and psychological aspects of religious experience and provide outstanding examples of applied phenomenology.' Hans Rainer Sepp, Charles University, Prague, and Central European Institute of Philosophy 'In the context of the 'return of religion,' this book offers both a timely and necessary contribution to confront the peculiarities of religious experience. Providing readers with applied phenomenological descriptions in an interdisciplinary spirit, these debates will prove stimulating for a resurgent field of research that is starting to refine its conceptual devices and methodological presuppositions.' University of Vienna. Olga Louchakova-Schwartz, M.D., Ph.D., is Professor of Philosophy of Religion, and Clinical Professor at the University of California at Davis. She received awards from Spitzer and Zimmer Foundations; her research was featured on BBC, Science Daily, and other important forums. She is the Founding President of the Society for the Phenomenology of Religious Experience.
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