study of religion theorist

Topics: Max Weber, Sociology, Emotion Pages: 2 (617 words) Published: April 6, 2014
Mikhaela Mallari

Essay 1

As I begin to explore chapter 3 on “The Beginners Guide to The Study of Religion”, I learned that there are many types of classic theories in the study of religion and that it is important to explore them. Exploring these theories will be able to help me compare and contrast these ideas and further my exploration in the study of religion. Throughout this chapter, Herling mentions a couple religious theorists such as Max Weber, Friedrich Schleiermacher, and William James. These individuals all have different theories and beliefs that they explain.

Let us start off with Friedrich Schleiermacher. He was a religious theorist that was inspired by romanticism. Schleiermacher identified “feeling” as the source and essence of religion (51) He believed that religion was more of an identified feeling and to him; religion was having that experience that linked people with god. With his theory, he believed it causes unification. Also, he proposed that these feelings that people can have are very powerful and vivid in religious settings. There was a feeling such as expansive, overwhelming and to Schleiermacher he described this feeling as “oceanic”(51). He said its like looking up at the stars in the night sky (51). When you look up at the stars in the sky or an infinite ocean we get a sense of awe and amazement gazing into these magnificent views and it gives as a powerful feeling that sometimes overcomes us. However, he believes that just thinking is not the main power and source of religion and that there is more to that. His main point in his theory was that people experience the feeling of being dependent in a higher power.

The second theorist is William James. He was an American philosopher and psychologist. James’s assumptions were that individual, interior; non-rational experience is more profound than general, objective or intellectual concepts. He states “so long as we deal with the cosmic and general, we deal...
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