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Fits, Trances, and Visions


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Table of Contents

LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS ix ACKNOWLEDGMENTS xi ABBREVIATIONS xiii INTRODUCTION 3 PART ONE. FORMALISM, ENTHUSIASM, AND TRUE RELIGION, 1740-1820 13 CHAPTER ONE Explaining Enthusiasm 20 CHAPTER TWO Making Experience 47 CHAPTER THREE Shouting Methodists 76 PART TWO: POPULAR PSYCHOLOGY AND POPULAR RELIGION, 1820-1890 119 CHAPTER FOUR Clairvoyants and Visionaries 128 CHAPTER FIVE Embodying Spirits 166 CHAPTER SIX Explaining Trance 207 PART THREE: RELIGION AND THE SUBCONSCIOUS, 1886-1910 251 CHAPTER SEVEN The Psychology of Religion 261 CHAPTER EIGHT Varieties of Protestant Religious Experience 308 CONCLUSION 348 NOTES 363 NAME INDEX 435 SUBJECT INDEX 441

Promotional Information

The breadth of the book is truly remarkable, both across time and across perspectives. To move coherently from debates over the phenomena of the colonial Great Awakening to debates over both modern psychology of religion and early Pentecostalism, while at the same time moving back and forth between adepts and explainers of religious experiences is a real accomplishment. -- Mark A. Noll, Wheaton College Taves offers both a history of American Protestant piety and a history of American psychology (in popular as much as academic modes). She creatively balances narratives of dramatic religious experience with varied naturalistic explanations that have been advanced since the Enlightenment. This is a grand enterprise--one of impressive breadth and seasoned scholarship. -- Leigh Schmidt, Princeton University

About the Author

Ann Taves is Professor of the History of Christianity and American Religion at the Claremont School of Theology and Professor of Religion at the Claremont Graduate University. She is the author of The Household of Faith: Roman Catholic Devotions in Mid-Nineteenth Century America and Religious and Domestic Violence in Early New England: The Memoirs of Abigail Abbott Bailey.


Winner of the 2000 Award for Best Professional/Scholarly Book in Philosophy and Religion, Association of American Publishers One of Choice's Outstanding Academic Titles for 2000 "Taves brings a new perspective to familiar territory in American religious history: camp meetings, spiritual mediums, Pentecostalism, faith healing, and the work of William James... [She] handles the complexity and breadth of her study well, balancing evidence and theory with clear prose, and ultimately provides a new view of the inner workings of American religious traditions."--Library Journal "[Taves] attends sensitively to how language shapes experience, accenting the complex interplay between theory and practice."--Publishers Weekly "As much a treat as a treatise, and not just for historians... An intellectual adventure ... thick with anecdote, example and quotation."--New York Times Book Review "An ambitious history both of religious experience within this broadly defined evangelical tradition and of efforts to explain and judge it... A remarkable compendium of firsthand descriptions of religious experience and practice."--Marc Arkin, The Wall Street Journal "Taves provides a fascinating account of the interplay between experiencing religion and explaining these experiences... Provocative, well-written, and an exemplar of interdisciplinary scholarship..."--Choice "Taves offers a brilliant introduction to the intricate art of explaining religious experience."--Robert Fuller, Christian Century "This impressive book will stand on its merits for many years to come. It will change the way we look at the received narrative of American religious history and, as much, the way we look at ourselves as interpreters of the narrative ... Taves has provided grounding and insight that puts us in her debt."--Catherine L. Albanese, Journal of American History "This is an important study and a major contribution to the study of the Anglo-American discourse on religion."--Gary L. Ebersole, Journal of Religion "This is an excellent book. Its method is historical and its self-set purpose concerns the interplay between experiencing religion and explaining the experience. The book deserves careful reading."--Douglas J. Davies, Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute "One of the most important contributions not only to the study of American religious history, but more broadly to the study of religion, which has appeared in recent years... [It] should be of great interest to students of religious phenomena no matter what their particular field of study."--Peter W. Williams, Catholic Historical Review

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