Proponents of arguments from religious experience often succumb to the demand to provide a brief, precise definition of ‘religious experience’. To widen the definition to include all experiences referred to as ‘religious’ would be foolhardy, since people often use terms such as ‘religious’ and ‘mystical’ metaphorically, to refer to any experience which is overwhelming, extraordinary, thrilling, or sublime. Definitions involving the term ‘God’ are difficult to work with, since the term admits of such a variety of interpretations. In order to gain a much better understanding of religious experiences than a short definition ever could, this chapter considers a workable idea of what counts as a religious experience and looks at borderline experiences which are not deemed ‘religious’. Different types of religious experience are examined, namely, interpretive, quasi-sensory, and revelatory experiences, as well as regenerative, numinous, and mystical experiences.
Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.
If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.