Religious Melancholy and Protestant Experience in America

Hardcover | March 1, 1995

byJulius H. Rubin

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This original examination of the spiritual narratives of conversion in the history of American Protestant evangelical religion reveals an interesting paradox. Fervent believers who devoted themselves completely to the challenges of making a Christian life, who longed to know God's rapturouslove, all too often languished in despair, feeling forsaken by God. Ironically, those most devoted to fostering the soul's maturation neglected the well-being of the psyche. Drawing upon many sources, including unpublished diaries and case studies of patients treated in nineteenth-century asylums,Julius Rubin's fascinating study thoroughly explores religious melancholy--as a distinctive stance toward life, a grieving over the loss of God's love, and an obsession and psychopathology associated with the spiritual itinerary of conversion. The varieties of this spiritual sickness include sinnerswho would fast unto death ("evangelical anorexia nervosa"), religious suicides, and those obsessed with unpardonable sin. From colonial Puritans like Michael Wigglesworth to contemporary evangelicals like Billy Graham, among those who directed the course of evangelical religion and of theirfollowers, Rubin shows that religious melancholy has shaped the experience of self and identity for those who sought rebirth as children of God.

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From Our Editors

This thought-provoking study examines an apparent paradox in the history of American Protestant evangelical religion. Fervent believers who devoted themselves completely to the challenges of making a Christian life, who longed to know God's rapturous love, all too often languished in despair, feeling forsaken by God. Indeed, some indiv...

From the Publisher

This original examination of the spiritual narratives of conversion in the history of American Protestant evangelical religion reveals an interesting paradox. Fervent believers who devoted themselves completely to the challenges of making a Christian life, who longed to know God's rapturouslove, all too often languished in despair, fee...

Julius H. Rubin is at Saint Joseph College, West Hartford.
Format:HardcoverDimensions:320 pages, 9.57 × 6.26 × 1.14 inPublished:March 1, 1995Publisher:Oxford University Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195083016

ISBN - 13:9780195083019

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From Our Editors

This thought-provoking study examines an apparent paradox in the history of American Protestant evangelical religion. Fervent believers who devoted themselves completely to the challenges of making a Christian life, who longed to know God's rapturous love, all too often languished in despair, feeling forsaken by God. Indeed, some individuals became obsessed by guilt, terror of damnation, and the idea that they had committed an unpardonable sin. Ironically, those most devoted to fostering the soul's maturation seemingly neglected the well-being of the psyche. Drawing upon many sources, including unpublished diaries, spiritual narratives, and case studies of patients treated in nineteenth-century asylums, Julius Rubin thoroughly explores religious melancholy - as a distinctive stance toward life, a grieving over the loss of God's love, and an obsession and psycho pathology associated with the spiritual itinerary of conversion. The varieties of this spiritual sickness include sinners who would fast unto death ("evangelical anorexia nervosa"), religious suicides, and

Editorial Reviews

"[A] fascinating study..."--Religious Studies Review