- Mass Market Paperback: 416 pages
- Publisher: Touchstone (April 1, 1997)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0684842971
- ISBN-13: 978-0684842974
- Product Dimensions: 4.6 x 1 x 8.1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 7.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 304 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,709,914 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Varieties of Religious Experience Mass Market Paperback – April 1, 1997
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Brother of the writer Henry James, William James (1842-1910) defined religion as ‘the feelings, acts, and experiences of individual men in their solitude, so far as they apprehend themselves to stand in relation to whatever they may consider the divine.’ James, therefore, defined religion, not by the church that people attend, but by what people do in their everyday life. For James, religion was not a ‘single quality’ but a ‘group of qualities’ that form actions. The lectures that form this book, although with radical views at the time, was considered one of the best works of non-fiction in the 20th century for its intellectual thoughts on religious tolerance and respect.
James draws on a number of sources, studies and themes, including a sense of the divince presence, mystical experiences, pathological unhappiness, character changes, characteristics of the faith-state, saintly life, democracy and humanity, fanaticism, cosmic consciousness, meditation, science of religions, religious leaders, and the pluralistic hypothesis. From the Quaker to the Christian, from Immanuel Kant to Walt Whitman, from the abstract to the absolute, William James ends with theoretical and practical conclusions. For example, he looks for the commonalities: ‘there is a certian uniform deliverance in which religions all appear to meet.’
This is an interesting philosophical and psychological account of religious tolerance and social cohesion, written over a hundred years ago, from the author’s circuitous lifelong pursuit of the examination of a study in human nature.
The edition I am talking about in this review:
Paperback: 284 pages
Publisher: Trinity Press (September 5, 2013)
Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 7.9 x 9.8 inches
Cover art: Sun on the horizon in the background with arm and hand in front of the sun in the foreground; all in sepia tones.
Here and there throughout the text there are typographical errors. The most common is that one sentence will end with a period and the next begin with no white space between. For the most part, just when this happens seems to be arbitrary. It does seem to occur consistently any time a sentence ends with a close quotation mark. These typographical errors happen so often that it became quite annoying to me.
Sometimes a period will appear somewhere in a running sentence, requiring several re-readings to untangle what is going on. Likewise, an opening or closing quotation mark will be left out in running text, again calling for multiple re-readings. For example on p.24 you find "The simplest functions of physiological life," he writes may be its ministers. Every one of who...[and on for nine more lines, until]...that promises to bear us towards it." This involves going back up ten lines to find the typographic error "The simplest functions of physiological life," he writes[, "]may be..." If this sort of thing happened a few times in the entire work, that would be one thing. Instead, these editorial errors happen so often that reading becomes a pain.
Just go on to the top of the next page (25) and find "...it makes our task difficult to have to deal so muck with..." It should read "deal so much with..."
Throughout James gives long quotations from primary sources. In this edition these long quotations are not set off in indented blocks as one would expect, but instead run as body text and are merely enclosed in quotation marks. Further, these long quotations are often run together with the resumption of the body text without starting a new paragraph. Again, this happens so often that it became quite annoying to me.
Given that this work has been continuously in print since 1902, there is no excuse for the editorial disaster of this edition. Further, there is no copyright page giving the information about this edition and the publisher. Is this even a legal edition?