Αισθητικοποιώντας τη θρησκευτική εμπειρία: μια συζήτηση με βάση τη θεωρητική εποπτεία του W. James

Βασίλης Πασχάλης

Περιληψη


The paper considers certain aspects of the aesthetic reception of religious experience, both through the actual works of William James and through possible hermeneutic paths via his theses. Despite the fact that James considers both art and visuality highly (seeing in the latter an analogy with religion in general), he tends to rather underestimate the aesthetic significance of religiocity, treating it primarily on a rhetoric and didactic level, and dissecting its, primarily negative, applications in the histrionic styles of Catholicism. James associates Protestantism’s “spiritual profundity” with “austerity” and “bitter negativity” and juxtaposes them to the “eloquence”, over-complexity and galvanized incomprehensibility of Catholicism. The paper puts question whether James’s perceptive remarks can go beyond polemics and support a positive stance towards aesthetization of religious experience Among other possible options, such a path may be traced in some purified use of images, which, rooted on denotation and particularity, may provide a means of soothing “vicious abstractionism” that tends to accompany concepts. The paper considers also James’s statement according to which “religion involves belief in an unseen extension of the world”, analyzing possible ways of understanding the pivotal terms “unseen” and ‘extension”.

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