Item description for Fits, Trances, and Visions: experiencing religion and explaining experience from Wesley to James by Ann Taves...
Overview Fits, trances, visions, speaking in tongues, clairvoyance, out-of-body experiences, possession. Believers have long viewed these and similar involuntary experiences as religious-as manifestation of God, the spirits, or the Christ within. Skeptics, on the other hand, have understood them as symptoms of physical disease, mental disorder, group dynamics, or other natural causes. In this sweeping work of religious and psychological history, Ann Taves explores the myriad ways in which believers and detractors interpreted these complex experiences in Anglo-American culture between the mid-eighteenth and early twentieth centuries.
Fits, trances, visions, speaking in tongues, clairvoyance, out-of-body experiences, possession. Believers have long viewed these and similar involuntary experiences as religious--as manifestations of God, the spirits, or the Christ within. Skeptics, on the other hand, have understood them as symptoms of physical disease, mental disorder, group dynamics, or other natural causes. In this sweeping work of religious and psychological history, Ann Taves explores the myriad ways in which believers and detractors interpreted these complex experiences in Anglo-American culture between the mid-eighteenth and early-twentieth centuries.
Taves divides the book into three sections. In the first, ranging from 1740 to 1820, she examines the debate over trances, visions, and other involuntary experiences against the politically charged backdrop of Anglo-American evangelicalism, established churches, Enlightenment thought, and a legacy of religious warfare. In the second part, covering 1820 to 1890, she highlights the interplay between popular psychology--particularly the ideas of "animal magnetism" and mesmerism--and movements in popular religion: the disestablishment of churches, the decline of Calvinist orthodoxy, the expansion of Methodism, and the birth of new religious movements. In the third section, Taves traces the emergence of professional psychology between 1890 and 1910 and explores the implications of new ideas about the subconscious mind, hypnosis, hysteria, and dissociation for the understanding of religious experience.
Throughout, Taves follows evolving debates about whether fits, trances, and visions are natural (and therefore not religious) or supernatural (and therefore religious). She pays particular attention to a third interpretation, proposed by such "mediators" as William James, according to which these experiences are natural "and" religious. Taves shows that ordinary people as well as educated elites debated the meaning of these experiences and reveals the importance of interactions between popular and elite culture in accounting for how people experienced religion and explained experience.
Combining rich detail with clear and rigorous argument, this is a major contribution to our understanding of Protestant revivalism and the historical interplay between religion and psychology.
Citations And Professional Reviews Fits, Trances, and Visions: experiencing religion and explaining experience from Wesley to James by Ann Taves has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -
Library Journal - 11/01/1999 page 90
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Studio: Princeton University Press
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 9.3" Width: 6.14" Height: 1.13" Weight: 1.45 lbs.
Release Date Nov 14, 1999
Publisher Princeton University Press
ISBN 0691010242 ISBN13 9780691010243
Availability 0 units.
More About Ann Taves
Ann Taves is professor of religious studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and past president of the American Academy of Religion. Her books include "Fits, Trances, and Visions: Experiencing Religion and Explaining Experience from Wesley to James" (Princeton).
Ann Taves currently resides in the state of California. Ann Taves was born in 1952 and has an academic affiliation as follows - Department of Religious Studies.
Reviews - What do customers think about Fits, Trances, and Visions: experiencing religion and explaining experience from Wesley to James?
Now what makes you feel like an outsider? Apr 14, 2007
Ever since I can remember, there has always been this sort of day-dreamy imagery going on inside my head (it struck my know-it-all fourth grade teacher as arrogance...I even remember her saying "You're no better than anybody else." as if it happened last week.) It seems both my parents and my two siblings actually think like this too. Whatever it is, my living grandfather (even today, no trace of the curmudgeonly) definitely has it and can control and make use of it far better than most; and his third-reich captors must have noticed it and liked it...even adored it, thus explaining the extraordinary--extra-special--medical care and humane treatment given him when an American POW in Germany.
Still, discussing our true psychological natures amongst ourselves would be similar to openly discussing our sexual natures: nearly impossible. The problem has been the lack of an objective and serious way of doing so, not so much a belief or value system forbiding it.
At any rate, the existance of Ann Taves book and its title "Fits, Trances, and Visions" has given me some help in understanding if not discussing the true nature of my lineage. So there might be some point to all this behavioral strangeness and being a black sheep might not be so terrible after all.