The Varieties: William James and the Psychology of Religious Experience
Mark B. Ryan, PhD
Six Thursdays, 7:30 – 9 pm
Oct 25 – Dec 6 (no class Nov 22)
$135 ($125 Jung Center members)
What is religious experience? More than a century after its publication, William James' The Varieties of Religious Experience (1902) remains a foundational text in the psychology of religion, a classic defense of the religious impulse, and an eloquent discussion of topics ranging from religious types to the nature of mysticism. It inaugurated an innovative approach to the study of religions, examining not belief systems and ecclesiastical organizations but the personal experiences of spiritual seekers. In this course, we will place James' work in its historical and biographical context, examine its principal ideas and theories, and explore its contemporary personal and cultural relevance.
Recommended reading: The Varieties of Religious Experience, William James
An historian of American thought, Mark B. Ryan holds a PhD from Yale University, where he taught for 22 years and was Dean of Jonathan Edwards College. Subsequently, he was Titular Professor at the Universidad de las Américas in Puebla, Mexico, serving as Dean of the Colleges and director of the graduate program in United States Studies.