APA Central

The 2024 APA Central Division Meeting will be held February 21-24, 2024 at the Astor
Crowne Plaza Hotel in New Orleans, LA. The Society for Phenomenology of Religious
Experience will sponsor an affiliated group session on the body and religious

Call for papers:
Religious experience, as the literature of different religious traditions indicates, depends on
the experiencers’ disposing their bodies to make such experience possible, such as
adopting certain postures or breathing practices, finding quiet or isolated surroundings,
producing rhythmic vocalizations, and exposing oneself to multi-sensory stimulation by
doing such things as listening to music, burning incense, lighting candles, enjoying light
filtered through stained-glass windows, or tasting certain foods. The disposition of one’s
body can serve as a version of epoché by which one separates oneself from pragmatic
everyday life and enters the spiritual province of meaning, or one can find oneself more
immersed in and attuned to the sensory world we inhabit. In addition, the having of religious
experience affects one bodily: produces peace, relaxation, and confidence; emboldens one
to act without fear; and has been shown to promote physical healing. The ethico-religious
summons of the other impacts us bodily, as we feel called to share the very bread we eat or
find ourselves laboring for the other’s sake, as a woman in labor. One can inquire how
corporeal religious experience heightens one’s belonging to nature and one’s feeling
solidarity with and responsibility for it. Bodily religious experience can serve as corrective to
overly intellectualized religious approaches. It also central for understanding religious ritual
in its various forms. Numerous philosophers and phenomenologists can be drawn on to
discuss these issues, for instance: Edmund Husserl, Martin Heidegger, Rudolf Otto, William
James, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Max Scheler, Emmanuel Levinas, Alfred Schutz, Michel
Henry, and Jean-Luc Marion. Contributors are invited to address the role of the body in
religious experience in regard to any of the issues addressed above.

Time, presenters, and titles:
Saturday Afternoon, February 24, 1:00–2:50 p.m.
Session G5D. Society for Phenomenology and Religious Experience (SOPHERE)
Topic: The Body and Religious Experience
Speakers: Sally Stocksdale (Towson University) “The Trinary Formula for Spiritual and
Community Unification as Illustrated in the Phenomenology Approach of Fr. Pavel
Florensky and Philosopher Edith Stein”
Sarah Pawlett Jackson (University of London) “Christian Spirituality and the Cyclic
Michael Barber (Saint Louis University) “The Body in Schutz’s Finite Province of
Meaning of Pragmatic Everyday and Ritual/Religious Experience”

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