a1 Harvard University
When William James launched into the Gifford Lectures of 1901, he admitted to his Edinburgh audience a certain feeling of trepidation. Those lectures, which he would later publish as The Varieties of Religious Experience, evoked in James a sense of consternation because, as he remarked on the occasion, he was neither a theologian, nor a historian of religion, nor an anthropologist. “Psychology is the only branch of learning in which I am particularly versed,” James pleaded.
* This article is a revised version of the William James Lecture on the Varieties of Religious Experience presented at the Harvard Divinity School, March 1997.