Integrating the Anomalous: Towards a Typology of Religious Transformation Open Access

Grabowitz, Robert Jay (2014)

Permanent URL:


This paper addresses the process by which anomalous or unusual experiences come to be incorporated into religious meaning-systems or worldviews. This type of experience and process is first situated within the ongoing feud between perennialist and constructivist perspectives on religious experience in which I conclude that elements from both camps must be incorporated. Second, it is analyzed through the lens of psychological attribution theory, which is concerned with the process of meaning-making rather than the ontological status of religious experience. Ann Taves' approach and other cognitive approaches will turn out to be flawed because they do not differentiate enough between different types of religious transformations and that they do not take into account the various dynamic steps of meaning-making and integration. We conclude by pointing to future directions for research that may emerge from addressing these deficiencies.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Laying the Groundwork (1)

Introduction (1)

Perennialism (3)

Constuctivism (9)

Neo-Perennialism (14)

Synthesis and Conclusion (17)

Chapter 2: Attribution and Integration (26)

Taves' Attributional Approach: Ascription (28)

Taves' Attributional Approach: Explanation (36)

Cognitive Model of Integration: Batson, Schoenrade and Ventis (42)

Chapter 3: Questions and Future Directions (47)

The Problem with Generic Ascription: Meaning-Making as Play (47)

The Need for Models of Integration Process (53)

Conclusion (57)

Conclusion: Toward a Typology of Religious Transformation (59)

Works Cited: (62)

About this Honors Thesis

Rights statement
  • Permission granted by the author to include this thesis or dissertation in this repository. All rights reserved by the author. Please contact the author for information regarding the reproduction and use of this thesis or dissertation.
  • English
Research Field
Committee Chair / Thesis Advisor
Committee Members
Last modified

Primary PDF

Supplemental Files