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Religious Experience: William James, Ecstasy, and Fundamentalism

  • Eric MullisEmail author
Chapter
Part of the Performance Philosophy book series (PPH)

Abstract

In this chapter, Mullis critically engages William James’ account of conversion experiences and mystical consciousness in light of Pentecostal theology and ethnographic fieldwork in charismatic Pentecostal churches. James’ emphasis on pathology in his account of ecstatic behavior is critically assessed as is his framing of religious encounters as passive and solitary. Mullis then considers how James’ analysis would differ if it were based not on religious autobiographical literature but on ethnographic research and embodied experiential inquiry. The chapter also discusses the confluence of ecstatic practices and fundamentalist ideology that can occur during charismatic Christian rituals, James’ dismissal of fundamentalism, and an ethics of witnessing practiced by the ethnographer-artist.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Queens University of CharlotteCharlotteUSA

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