Item description for Shadow Culture: Psychology and Spirituality in America by Eugene Taylor...
Outline ReviewAlthough critics would have New Age spirituality deemed trendy and fleeting, author and religious scholar Eugene Taylor offers a convincing testament to the historical worthiness and longevity of the alternative spirituality movement. Taylor, who is a lecturer in psychology at Harvard Medical School, explains that the New Age movement is a historically rooted movement that blends psychology and spirit. In fact, he calls it the "Third Great Awakening" in American religious life--an awakening that always springs from a "shadow culture" (most recently, the counterculture rebellion of the '60s). What makes this a fascinating read is its extensive and smoothly presented research. Taylor documents the "First Great Awakening," which dates back to the puritans and mystics of the 1600s and 1700s. Stretching forward in time, he presents the "Second Great Awakening," with profiles of leaders such as Emerson and Thoreau. This fascinating discussion elevates the New Age movement to an evolutionary necessity, which will no doubt raise the ire or gratitude of American readers. --Gail Hudson
Product Description A modern Varieties of Religious Experience that traces the sources of the New Age movement through three hundred years of "alternative" spirituality
America is witnessing a third Great Awakening, an explosion of interest in esoteric and mystical religious experience. Often referred to as New Age or pop psychology-especially by its detractors-this new awakening is a profoundly psychological one, stressing the alteration of consciousness, the integration of mind and body, and the connection between physical and mental health.
Shadow Culture finds the roots of the New Age in the sermons of Jonathan Edwards, the writings of Emerson and Thoreau, and the counterculture of the 1960s. It will appeal to anyone interested in the resurgence of spiritualism in America, from New Age seekers to Gnostics, from agnostics to Unitarians, from Swedenborgians to practicing Buddhists.
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 9.01" Width: 5.98" Height: 0.87" Weight: 0.99 lbs.
Release Date May 31, 2000
ISBN 1582430802 ISBN13 9781582430805
Availability 0 units.
More About Eugene Taylor
Eugene Taylor, Ph.D., is a Lecturer on Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, a Clinical Associate in Psychology at the Massachusetts General Hospital, and an Executive Faculty member at Saybrook Institute. He is the author of "William James on Exceptional Mental States" (Scribner's).
Reviews - What do customers think about Shadow Culture: Psychology and Spirituality in America?
Great Explanation of America's Shadow May 8, 2006
Eugene Taylor offers a great explanation of the shadow culture in America since the first Great Awakening in this book. He explains every aspect of the spiritual history of the United States, including the Quakers, Shakers, Transcendentalists, Swamis, and even the counter-culture of the 1960s. I especially enjoyed the section on the Americanization of the theories of Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung. I recommend this book to anyone with an interest in psychology or religious studies. As a student of both, I found this book to be an excellent mixture of both disciplines.
A Shallow Analysis Masquerading as Scholarship Mar 14, 2001
Taylor does indeed present an overview of a certain sort of tradition that has not been well-surveyed to this point. His historiography, while not deep, is adequate, given the wide range of material. However, Taylor's own agenda so overwhelms the history that his assessment of particular figures is nearly useless. To contrast broadly the "Western rationalist tradition" with the "Western visionary tradition" - as he does in various ways at every opportunity - is little more than name-calling. His "faith" in something called "pure religious experience" is almost 100 years out-of-date -- has the author not realized that all experience (including religious experience) is shaped by language, culture, and tradition? Unsuspecting readers, beware: a position as a psychitrist at Harvard does not make up for a history that is little more than an advertisement for his own personal spiritual predilection.
Not useful and not very well written Sep 10, 1999
Like some of the other reviewers I cannot say that this is an interesting book. I have read many New Age books, many of them quite scholarly. This is just not a good book. Sorry, Mr. Taylor -- better luck in the next life, eh?
A remarkable hisotory of American's visionary tradition. Sep 2, 1999
"Boring"--the pet phrase of the adolescent who's "little gray cells" have been overstretched by too much stimulation--is far from a correct portrayal of this fine book. It is a deeply intelligent, constantly fascinating, and highly readable account of the entire sweep of American spirituality, folk psychology, and the American visionary tradition from their beginnings in colonial days. From the visionaries and mystics of early 1700s, to the Quakers and Shakers, to Swedenborg, Blavatsky, and the New England Transcendentalists, and on to the Americanization of Jung and Freud, and finally to the modern transpersonal psychologies and spiritually inspired alternative therapies, this is a record of the passions and history of American spiritual life never before recorded with such clarity. Don't be fooled by trash reviews written by rash undergraduates (of all ages). This is a story without precedent, a landmark in American spiritual and intellectual history written by one of the foremost historians of our age.
Who's the real "Mr. Boring"? Aug 23, 1999
I have read this book through and through, and I have read the brief review pannning the book and the response by the author, Eugene Taylor. I had two reactions: First, I found the author's "rebuttal" rather spooky. It was a mean-spirited response, not at all polite or -- dare I say -- spiritually enlightened, although the author hints at his own ability to see into the great beyond and to know more than the rest of us who are not blessed with such . . . experiences. He is apparently thin-skinned, and perhaps, after I read this book, I now see that he has reason to be. Which brings me to my second point, my review of the book: I found myself in total agreement with the reviewer from Lincoln, Mass. I'm sorry to say this, but the book is boring. And repetitive. And offers a thesis that is not very original at all. I have read many books on the history of New Age spirituality, and this is just so-so.