Fits, Trances, and Visions: Experiencing Religion and Explaining Experience from Wesley to James

Ann Taves


Fits, Trances, and Visions: Experiencing Religion and Explaining Experience from Wesley to James

Fits, Trances, and Visions: Experiencing Religion and Explaining Experience from Wesley to James

  • Title: Fits, Trances, and Visions: Experiencing Religion and Explaining Experience from Wesley to James
  • Author: Ann Taves
  • ISBN: 9780691010243
  • Page: 100
  • Format: Paperback



Fits, trances, visions, speaking in tongues, clairvoyance, out of body experiences, possession Believers have long viewed these and similar involuntary experiences as religious as manifestations of God, the spirits, or the Christ within Skeptics, on the other hand, have understood them as symptoms of physical disease, mental disorder, group dynamics, or other natural caFits, trances, visions, speaking in tongues, clairvoyance, out of body experiences, possession Believers have long viewed these and similar involuntary experiences as religious as manifestations of God, the spirits, or the Christ within Skeptics, on the other hand, have understood them as symptoms of physical disease, mental disorder, group dynamics, or other natural causes In this sweeping work of religious and psychological history, Ann Taves explores the myriad ways in which believers and detractors interpreted these complex experiences in Anglo American culture between the mid eighteenth and early twentieth centuries.Taves divides the book into three sections In the first, ranging from 1740 to 1820, she examines the debate over trances, visions, and other involuntary experiences against the politically charged backdrop of Anglo American evangelicalism, established churches, Enlightenment thought, and a legacy of religious warfare In the second part, covering 1820 to 1890, she highlights the interplay between popular psychology particularly the ideas of animal magnetism and mesmerism and movements in popular religion the disestablishment of churches, the decline of Calvinist orthodoxy, the expansion of Methodism, and the birth of new religious movements In the third section, Taves traces the emergence of professional psychology between 1890 and 1910 and explores the implications of new ideas about the subconscious mind, hypnosis, hysteria, and dissociation for the understanding of religious experience.Throughout, Taves follows evolving debates about whether fits, trances, and visions are natural and therefore not religious or supernatural and therefore religious She pays particular attention to a third interpretation, proposed by such mediators as William James, according to which these experiences are natural and religious Taves shows that ordinary people as well as educated elites debated the meaning of these experiences and reveals the importance of interactions between popular and elite culture in accounting for how people experienced religion and explained experience.Combining rich detail with clear and rigorous argument, this is a major contribution to our understanding of Protestant revivalism and the historical interplay between religion and psychology.


Recent Comments "Fits, Trances, and Visions: Experiencing Religion and Explaining Experience from Wesley to James"

Masterful in the way it weaves together so many currents of thought in regards to the way religious experience has been accounted for, described, dismissed, justified, and contested in American religious history. I read it primarily to look at the ways insanity or even mental disability have played into discussions of religious "enthusiasm," in the form of bodily manifestations like trances, collapses, tongues, revelations, visions, etc. The first few chapters touched more on this aspect than th [...]

A book about the 'experience' of religion and the difficulties and conflicts in narrating that experience from religious and secular standpoints. Looks at the take on "fits, trances, and visions" from the point of view of pentecostals, spiritualists, mesmerists, etc. etc. during the period of time when these groups were forming their identities and ideologies.

As the opening line to the introduction puts it: "This book is about the interplay between experiencing religion and explaining experience" (3). It concerns itself with the evangelical fits, trances, and visions that occurred with surprising frequency in America chiefly during the 18th and 19th centuries. Ann Taves tries to walk the line of inviting both the popular/common and elite characters from history contribute to constructing a religious explanation and history of America. Her religious s [...]

I really loved about 3/4 of this book. I mean, loved it. I felt like it filled in a lot of gaps in my knowledge of Methodist history and regularly blew my mind about the role of the titular "fits, trances, and visions" in 19th century American religion.But I felt like it was a hair too long and that the author kind of lost her way or got bored at the end. And so did I.Still, I loved it and definitely learned a bunch.


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    Published :2018-08-19T15:14:50+00:00