Phenomenological Approaches to Religion and Spirituality

  • James M. Nelson

At the heart of the spirituality of every person and group, one can find experiences that are both personal and compelling, sometimes life changing in their impact. Because of this, a proper understanding of religion and spirituality must involve the study of experience. Over the past century, scientists and philosophers have been refining the study of phenomenology, or the lived experience of human beings, and applying these new techniques and knowledge to the analysis and understanding of our spiritual life. Phenomenology takes us beyond simple functional analyses of religion to look at its substance and the experience of transcendence (Berger, 1974). In this chapter, we will look at what scientists, philosophers, religious studies experts, and mystics have learned about spiritual and religious experience.


Religious Tradition Phenomenological Approach Religious Experience Spiritual Experience Religious Life 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • James M. Nelson
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyValparaiso UniversityValparaisoUSA

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