VII.—NEW BOOKS

J. W. S.
1921 Mind  
NEW BOOKS. de l'acte createur de l'esprit, qu'elle put garder de la doctrine pluralist* oet empirisme, oe volontarisme et oe mysticisme, oe sens da particulier ooncret, qai la earact&isent ordinairement et qni en font lit valeor " (p. 271). The book has a very fall table of contents, and a good index of proper L. J. RtJBHILL. Tht Rtligiou* Contewutneu: A Psychological Study. By JAMBS BISBETT PRAIT, Ph.D., Professor of Philosophy in Williams College. New-York : The Macmillan Company, 1920. Pp.
more » ... ompany, 1920. Pp. viii, 488. Probably the best thing to do in offering a very short notice of a considerable book }ike the one before us, is simply to indicate as fairly and succinctly as possible the kind of book it is. Professor Pratt hardly needs introduction. He belongs to that line of students of the religious consciousness which inoludes the names of James, Starbuck, Stanley Hall and others, who have loved to approach the religious consciousness from the psychological side, to work from a very broad empirical basis, and who have plied with great effect the device of arriving at results by colligating thetostimonies of various religious minds regarding their own experiences. Prof. Pratt touches here on most of the subjects which have been the spheres of research for this method. He has discussed the religion of childhood, with the help of the testimonies of people who remember their religious childhood. He is full of the romance of adolescence, paying great tribute to Stanley Hall. He gives much attention to "adolescent phenomena," types of conversion, revivals and revival experiences, as well as to the more mature religious beliefs and practices, to belief in God and immortality, to the history of the colt, to prayer and worship ; and he devotes the last quarter of his book to a discussion of the various kinds of mystic experiences and their value. The author is abundantly true to the tradition he represents. His is not a book which has any gospel to preach or any cause to further. Its inspiration lies in the desire to be-scientific. Its aim, in the words of the preface, is "to describe the religious consciousness and to do so without having any point of view ". It is the work of a very excellent maker of a book. The reader is given to feel as though the author's main concern with each separate subject as it came up for treatment, had been carefully to allot to it an amount of space proportionate to its importance ; its importance being gauged, roughly speaking, by the extent to which recent research has been occupied with it. Hence the book doe» indeed " describe the religious consciousness " as the author himself seen it; for of course he cannot prevent his own point of view-his personalism in religion, if one might name it at a venture-from shining through hi* treatment in places; and he does not try to. But it also does much more. It farms an admirable introduction to the vast field of modern work on the psychology and philosophy of religion. It teems with references. It hw a very full index. And the device of leaving twelve blank pages in the middle of the index shows very well where the author himself has conceived that one of the main values of his work would lie. This is not to say, of course, that the book is a mere compendium. A mere compiler, for instance, would have given us all the forty-eight definitions of religion which the author says exist; instead of, like him, contenting himself with telling us when to find them. What would be still more impossible to the compiler, the author offers us a careful fortyninth. And this judicious frankness is characteristic of the whole work.
doi:10.1093/mind/xxx.119.368 fatcat:3q524aryozaczfl2ldsypseudm