Continuing The Heritage William James, Alister Hardy and The Work of The Religious Experience Research Centre

  • Peggy Morgan
Keywords: religion, experience, spirituality, multi-disciplinary, science


This article seeks to examine the relationships of the work on religious experience of the American psychologist and philosopher William James (1842-1910) and that of the marine biologist Professor Sir Alister Hardy FRS (1896-1985). It includes reference to James’s dependence on the psychologist Edwin Starbuck (1866-1947) and what might be considered ‘scientific’ and multi-disciplinary in both their enterprises and that of Hardy. The main source of James’s ideas in this area is the published version of his Edinburgh Gifford lectures The Varieties of Religious Experience (1902). Hardy founded a unit for the study of religious experience (RERU) in Oxford in 1969 and described the first years of its research findings in The Spiritual Nature of Man (1979). Under later directors, researchers and lecturers the work extended into different methods and cultures. Since 2000 The Alister Hardy Religious Experience Research Centre (RERC), has been based at University of Wales Trinity Saint David, Lampeter.


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