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Everyday ReligionObserving Modern Religious Lives$
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Nancy T. Ammerman

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780195305418

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195305418.001.0001

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 Touching the Transcendent: Rethinking Religious Experience in the Sociological Study of Religion

 Touching the Transcendent: Rethinking Religious Experience in the Sociological Study of Religion

Chapter:
(p.201) 12 Touching the Transcendent: Rethinking Religious Experience in the Sociological Study of Religion
Source:
Everyday Religion
Author(s):

Courtney J. Bender

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195305418.003.0012

This chapter reintroduces religious experience as a key theme and trope within contemporary religion. Taking a woman’s gripping out-of-body experience (during which she meets Jesus) as a starting point, it asks why recent sociological studies on the whole pay so little attention to individual religious experience. This is a curious omission given the recent attention to religion’s lived expression, not to mention the central role of experience within contemporary spirituality movements. Answering these questions call to attention several unresolved questions in the sociology of religion about the position and validity of religious experience, as well as about the ways that particularistic theologies shape sociological concepts of religion. This chapter calls for renewed attention to the study of experience, now and in the past, to better understand the full complexity of religion in contemporary lives.

Keywords:   individual, out-of-body experience, contemporary spirituality, theologies, sociology of religion

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