The essence of religion was once widely thought to be a unique form of experience that could not be explained in neurological, psychological, or sociological terms In recent decades scholars have questioned the privileging of the idea of religious experience in the study of religion, an approach that effectively isolated the study of religion from the social and natural sciences Religious Experience Reconsidered lays out a framework for research into religious phenomena that reclaims experience as a central concept while bridging the divide between religious studies and the sciences Ann Taves shifts the focus from religious experience, conceived as a fixed and stable thing, to an examination of the processes by which people attribute meaning to their experiences She proposes a new approach that unites the study of religion with fields as diverse as neuroscience, anthropology, sociology, and psychology to better understand how these processes are incorporated into the broader cultural formations we think of as religious or spiritual Taves addresses a series of key questions how can we set up studies without obscuring contestations over meaning and value What is the relationship between experience and consciousness How can research into consciousness help us access and interpret the experiences of others Why do people individually or collectively explain their experiences in religious terms How can we set up studies that allow us to compare experiences across times and cultures Religious Experience Reconsidered demonstrates how methods from the sciences can be combined with those from the humanities to advance a naturalistic understanding of the experiences that people deem religious Highly recommended for anyone interested in the phenomenon called religious experience Taves reframes that as experiences deemed religious, writing that This shift in terminology reflects my interest in exploring the processes whereby experiences come to be understood as religious at multiple levels, from the intrapersonal to the intergroup Taves proposes an interdisciplinary humanities sciences framework for understanding such experiences An excellent book, despite some distracting Highly recommended for anyone interested in the phenomenon called religious experience Taves reframes that as experiences deemed religious, writing that This shift in terminology reflects my interest in exploring the processes whereby experiences come to be understood as religious at multiple levels, from the intrapersonal to the intergroup Taves proposes an interdisciplinary humanities sciences framework for understanding such experiences An excellent book, despite some distracting proofreading lapses Taves delineates new disciplinary ways to track religious experience by suggesting an ascriptive approach rather than a preset cognitive notion of religion that we might then order experience into This makes her emphasize how we may categorize multiple experiences as special and occasionally religious This is an important updating of the classic views on religious experience in William James and Wayne Proudfoot, offered in the spirit of locating best methods for the study of religion. This book is academically dense, and I don t think I come from a place where the problem she is trying to address even registers for me and or she doesn t articulate it clearly enough Taves is trying to bridge religious studies with social natural scientific methodology and knowledge and though I m certainly supportive of interdisciplinary work, her project doesn t feel convincingly part of religious studies, but rather isinterested in psychological neuroscientific understandings o This book is academically dense, and I don t think I come from a place where the problem she is trying to address even registers for me and or she doesn t articulate it clearly enough Taves is trying to bridge religious studies with social natural scientific methodology and knowledge and though I m certainly supportive of interdisciplinary work, her project doesn t feel convincingly part of religious studies, but rather isinterested in psychological neuroscientific understandings of special experiences I m interested in her premise that, in the study of religion, we should compare things that are typically defined as religious with similarly special things that are not usually considered religious patriotism, for example this to me feels like it has a lot of traction But then that didn t seem to be where she went rather than focusing onsocietal and everyday specialness that which is produced socially and economically especially , she focused on the special experiences of dreams, hallucinations, visions, etc This is honestly just not that interesting to me and also not where I thought she was going based on her orientation to the project