Alongside theory and practice, Capps was consistently interested in aesthetics, structures of feeling, and varieties of experience. From to , as a visiting scholar at one of the world's preeminent centers for art history , the University of London 's Warburg Institute, Capps was able to develop his enduring interest in aesthetics.
In his studies of religion, this aesthetic sensibility was clearly evident in his abiding theoretical concern that most accounts of religion failed because they were frozen in time — like still photographs — instead of providing moving pictures that might track the dynamic, experiential character of religion.
In thinking about religious experience, Capps was more interested in processes of change, as explored by the psychoanalyst Erik Erikson — , who tracked the psychological transitions in the human life cycle, than in establishing deep psychological structures.
Religious Studies the Making of a Discipline
At the same time, however, Capps's interest in aesthetics, feeling, and religious experience informed his research on the stillness of religious contemplation and religious solitude, as evident in his edited volume on Christian mysticism and his explorations of Christian monasticism. For the study of religion, these three strands — theoretical, practical, and aesthetic — represent a research program, as Capps argued, that fits the multidimensional character of religion.
His own life, as academic, politician, and person, was similarly woven. Capps, Walter. Philadelphia, Capps, Walter, ed.
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Ways of Understanding Religion. New York , Capps, Walter, and Wendy Wright, eds. San Francisco , Boston, ; 2d ed. The Monastic Impulse.
Columbia, S. Capps and Kjell O. Lejon, pp. Cite this article Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.
September 21, Religious Studies : The Making of a Discipline. Walter H.
Since its inception almost years ago, the study of religion has informed, enlightened, provoked, and challenged our notions of humanity's deepest beliefs and longings. Now Walter Capps, nationally recognized for the quality and depth of his teaching, has written the first full-scale introduction to the history and methods of religious studies. To assess the many points of view in this mature but diffuse discipline.
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