Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.

  • List Price: $30.00
  • Save: $3.07 (10%)
Only 1 left in stock (more on the way).
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.
Hearing Things: Religion,... has been added to your Cart
+ $3.99 shipping
Used: Good | Details
Sold by textbooksnow-
Condition: Used: Good
Comment: BOOK CONDITION: Used books will have varying degrees of wear, highlighting, and notations. Access codes & supplemental materials may not be included. Inventory is subject to prior sale. SHIPPING: Only Standard shipping to PO Boxes. We are not able to ship to APO/FPOs or Internationally. Orders are shipped from Illinois.
Trade in your item
Get a $1.52
Gift Card.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 2 images

Hearing Things: Religion, Illusion, and the American Enlightenment Paperback – October 8, 2002

5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

See all formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
New from Used from
Paperback, October 8, 2002
"Please retry"
$20.72 $10.05

Wiley Summer Savings Event.
Wiley Summer Savings Event.
Save up to 40% during Wiley's Summer Savings Event. Learn more.
$26.93 FREE Shipping. Only 1 left in stock (more on the way). Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.
click to open popover

Frequently Bought Together

  • Hearing Things: Religion, Illusion, and the American Enlightenment
  • +
  • The Information-Literate Historian
Total price: $49.38
Buy the selected items together

Editorial Reviews


This engaging book is remarkable for the breadth and depth of its research, its freshness and analytical power, and its fluid and witty style. Leigh Schmidt makes a persuasive and essential argument for the recovery of religion as a matter of senses, while exploring the ironies of 'secularization' in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. (David Hall, Divinity School, Harvard University)

Hearing Things is a profound meditation on the surprisingly enduring dialectic among pre-modern, Enlightenment, and post-modern attitudes toward human experience, merged with a thoughtful account of supernatural and charismatic forms of Christianity. This is an important and an unusually insightful book. (Mark Noll, Wheaton College)

Insightful, witty, succinct--would that more academic books possessed the qualities which Hearing Things displays in abundance. This is a major contribution to the analysis of a key historical problem. (Roy Porter, Wellcome Institute for the History of Medicine)

In this intriguing, heavily researched study, Schmidt considers the interaction between American Christianity and the Enlightenment with regard to hearing in an era when ventriloquism became a popular entertainment and Thomas Edison invented his phonograph. The very tools that had been developed to debunk spiritism were now being used to advance it. The author studies hearing as a cultural phenomenon, both scientific and religious, in this fine interdisciplinary study that sheds much light on a particular period of American history. (Augustine J. Curley Library Journal)

Who silenced the angels? For an answer, Schmidt turns back to the 18th and 19th centuries to look at Enlightenment philosophers and traveling ventriloquists, at acoustic engineers, anatomists and alienists, each of whom demonstrated in his own way the structures that undergirded claims of the miraculous...This densely argued, fascinating story features a panorama of colorful characters, from the Swedish mystic Emanuel Swedenborg to the traveling showman William Frederick Pinchbeck and his Pig of Knowledge. Schmidt's study offers an important chapter in the genealogy of the modern religious imagination. (Publishers Weekly)

About the Author

Leigh Eric Schmidt is Professor of Religion at Princeton University.

The latest book club pick from Oprah
"The Underground Railroad" by Colson Whitehead is a magnificent novel chronicling a young slave's adventures as she makes a desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South. See more

Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press; 2nd prt. edition (November 30, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0674009983
  • ISBN-13: 978-0674009981
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.8 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #319,959 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

5 star
4 star
3 star
2 star
1 star
See the customer review
Share your thoughts with other customers

Top Customer Reviews

Verified Purchase
In this book Leigh Eric Schmidt, one of the leading experts in the study of American religion, tries to come to grips with how the enlightenment has caused American’s views on religion to change. He’s interested in how people went from a world to seemly inhabited by supernatural voices and other presences to one that is silent. Schmidt focuses of hearing, chronicling both a period in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries where people felt they heard God or angels speaking as well as the efforts of skeptics and rationalists to disenchant the modern world. The book touches on an astounding array of ideas; with chapters about Swedenborgianism, ventriloquism and skeptic’s efforts to debunk ancient oracles. Despite the diverse array of sources the book never seems to veer too far off topic.

This is a book that is targeted mostly at academic specialists in the field of religious studies or intellectual history, though it could conceivably be of interest to an advanced undergraduate. It would be highly useful to anyone studying atheism, secularism, religious experience, mysticism or the effects of the enlightenment in America. Highly recommended.
Comment One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Set up an Amazon Giveaway

Hearing Things: Religion, Illusion, and the American Enlightenment
Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers. Learn more about Amazon Giveaway
This item: Hearing Things: Religion, Illusion, and the American Enlightenment