Journal Article

Narrative and Religious Experience

David Yamane

in Sociology of Religion

Published on behalf of Association for the Sociology of Religion

Volume 61, issue 2, pages 171-189
Published in print January 2000 | ISSN: 1069-4404
Published online January 2000 | e-ISSN: 1759-8818 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2307/3712284
Narrative and Religious Experience

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This paper argues that when sociologists study religious experience we cannot study “experiencing” — religious experience in real time and its physical, mental, and emotional constituents — and therefore must study retrospective accounts — linguistic representations — of religious experiences. It is in the nature of experiencing and its linguistic expression that the two are loosely coupled and therefore we do not study phenomenological descriptions of experiences but how an experience is made meaningful. On this basis, existing studies of religious experience are criticized, and an alternative, narrative approach to studying religious experience which is sensitive to its unique ontology is elaborated. The paper concludes with some brief suggestions for applying the narrative approach to studying the meaning of religious experience.

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Religion ; Sociology of Religion

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