Excerpt 1: Lecture II, Para. 1: “Most books on the philosophy of religion… And why may not religion be a conception equally complex?”
A. Unpack James’s critique of essentialism. First define it, and then use this paragraph and any ideas from “Lecture I: Religion and Neurology” that help you.
B. Provide examples of ‘absolutism’ and ‘one-sided dogmatism’ (either speculate who or what James is referring to, or come up with estimated examples that relate to his terms)
Excerpt 2: Lecture II, Para. 5: “The field of religion being as wide as this, it is manifestly impossible that I should pretend… seek to mark out the field I choose.”
A. James establishes the distinction between institutional and personal religion. Explain how James justifies this distinction (or choice). How else might one choose?
B. James is knee-deep in his own cultural context. If interested, do internet research on 19th century liberal Protestantism and look for descriptions of James’s “inward piety.”
Excerpt 3: Lecture II, Paras. 25-26: “There must be something solemn, serious, and tender… With states that can only by courtesy be called religious we need have nothing to do, our only profitable business being with what nobody can possibly feel tempted to call anything else.”
A. At this point in the Lecture, James has attempted numerous revised, ‘working’ definitions of religion. Does he abandon the idea of defining religion?
B. If interested, draw a concept map that shows James’s journey to define (or not define) religion.
Excerpt 4: Lecture II, Para. 54 (James’s paragraph after the 5-line German poem): “For when all is said and done, we are in the end absolutely dependent on…