Romantic Psychologizing -- By: A. A. Berle

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 065:257 (Jan 1908)
Article: Romantic Psychologizing
Author: A. A. Berle


Romantic Psychologizing1

A. A. Berle

Salem, Mass.

The literature of the psychological analysis of religion continues to grow, though it cannot be said that the additions are making any notable contributions to the subject. Professor James’s “Varieties of Religious Experience” covered the subject so thoroughly, and gave such a mass of material, that it is likely that the new books for some time to come will do little else than thresh over the materials which are found in that marvelous book. Professor Pratt frankly acknowledges his indebtedness to Professor James; and, even if he had not, his book shows everywhere the influence of the Cambridge professor.

The present volume is suggestive on many accounts. For one thing it has a frank and straightforward tone, which is not dropped when he approaches the practical aspects of his views. Most of the psychologists either have not endeavored to define the practical outcome of their views, or, when they have approached a point where the practical application seemed to be the next thing, have avoided it. But Professor Pratt knows where he is going, and does not hesitate to tell you about it; and for this reason his book, which is intended for untechnical as well as technical readers, will appeal to people who have little knowledge of psychologic science as such. Moreover, he writes a chapter on conclusions which is but a practical application and illustration of the results of his point of view, and this too is exceptional.

It has always seemed to the present writer that Coe and Star-

buck, and others like them, seemed afraid to face the practical results that were to be expected from their views. Doubtless this is not the case, but so it has seemed; and, for that reason, Professor Pratt’s book is likely to be more effective in clearing up minds that are beclouded on this matter, than were the volumes of the two authors just named.

But the clarification likely to result is not likely, in the minds of many, to be in the acceptance of Professor Pratt’s views, as will be shown presently. It is more likely to result in the defining of views, and the recognition of the fact that the one thing most needed now in the philosophical world is a new statement and announcement of a-priorism, and some fresh utterance upon the original powers of the human intellect. Physiological psychology and its various adjuncts have had their innings, and it is time we heard a little more of the other side, though the other side is not wanting exactly. The abandonment of the intellect and the intellectual judgments, the general discrediting of all forms of intel...

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