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An Introduction to Religious and Spiritual Experience


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Table of Contents

Preface; Acknowledgements; Introduction; 1. What is a Spiritual Experience?; 2. Terminology; 3. Spiritual Experience and Religions; 4. Experiences of the Founders/Messengers of the Major Religious Traditions; 5. Experiences of the Founders/Messengers of Less Well-Known Religious Traditions; 6. Religious Triggers of Spiritual Experience; 7. Non-Religious Triggers of Spiritual Experience; 8. Types of Spiritual Experience; 9. Dying and Death; 10. Mystics; 11. Spiritual and Mystical Experiences of Well-Known People; 12. Fruits of Spiritual Experience; 13. Spiritual Experience Research; 14. The Interpretation of Spiritual, Religious and Mystical Experience; Conclusion; Bibliography; Notes.

About the Author

Marianne Rankin is Chair of the Alister Hardy Society, affiliated to the Religious Experience Research Centre, University of Wales, Lampeter. After working as a linguist and writer in Singapore, she took an M.St. in the Study of Religion at Oxford University, UK.


"A remarkably comprehensive global survey of types of religious and spiritual experience, which provides invaluable source-material for all who are concerned with a spiritual view of life . . . fascinating in its range and lucidity of expression." - Professor Keith Ward, Regius Professor of Divinity Emeritus, University of Oxford, Fellow of the British Academy and Professor of Divinity at Gresham College, London, UK.
"Marianne Rankin's book on religious and spiritual experience is so comprehensive as almost to merit the adjective, 'encyclopedic'. She has done an amazing amount of research on the subject. Her organization of materials gathered is logical, and each concise entry invites the reader to enter the experience itself. I found them not simply moving, but persuasive in their authenticity. Something very powerful has happened to the persons cited. William James, writing his Varieties over a century ago, would be proud that he has found so worthy a successor in this research." - Hal French, Distinguished Professor Emeritus, Dept. of Religious Studies, University of South Carolina, USA.
"This book does exactly what it says. It provides a brilliant introduction to life-changing experiences which have profoundly influenced the shape of human religiosity and spirituality. Marianne Rankin has done her research well and gathered a mass of data from across the world's religions and across human history. The value of the book is that she lets the data speak for itself. It is a brilliant anthology both of the experiences themselves, of the interpretations given to them, and of the impact they have had on human lives. It is also a jolly good read!" - Professor Paul Badham, Director of the Alister Hardy Religious Experience Research Centre, University of Wales Lampeter, UK.
"This is a clearly written text ... covering a wide range of material relevant to the study of spiritual and religious experiences in a way that should be useful for teachers and students alike and provides further references for those general readers who wish to extend their study" - Peggy Morgan, Mansfield College and Faculty of Theology, University of Oxford, UK.
"This is an excellent, comprehensive handbook for all who are concerned with its subject matter. Marianne Rankin provides an extremely wide range of source material to define her terms, to illustrate the variety of such experience and to present a typology of them." The Christian Parapsychologist, 2009
'This well-organised and highly accessible book is replete with examples of experiences from within and outside of religious traditions, sympathetically arranged and analysed by a writer at the chalk-face of enquiry into personal religious and spiritual experience...This book is perfect for A level students and teachers inasmuch as it charts experiences from a range of the world's religions, whilst at the same time asking critical and philosophical questions, thus facilitating synoptic-type study. It also provides a wide range of easily quotable scholarly views from across the spectrum of debate about religious experience, thus supporting students in evaluation-type writing...For A level students, or anyone, wanting to grasp the significance of religious and spiritual experience, and to understand how it is researched, this book would repay careful study.' Wendy Dossett, University of Wales, Lampeter, UK
A review by David Lorimer entitled A Deeper Connection A book of unusual scope, providing a kaleidoscope of material and an eclectic range of sources.

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