Recently, many philosophers of religion have sought to defend the rationality of religious belief by shifting the burden of proof onto the critic of religious belief. Some have appealed to extraordinary religious experience in making their case. Religious Experience, Justification, and History restores neglected explanatory and historical considerations to the debate. Through a study of William James, it contests the accounts of religious experience offered in recent works. Through reflection on the history of philosophy, it also unravels the philosophical use of the term justification. Matthew Bagger argues that the commitment to supernatural explanations implicit in the religious experiences employed to justify religious belief contradicts the modern ideal of human flourishing. For contrast, and to demonstrate the indispensability of history, he includes a study of Teresa of Avila's mystical theology. The controversial supernatural explanations implicit in extraordinary religious experience place the burden of proof on the believer.
"Matthew Bagger's Religious Experience, Justification, and History is an important contribution to the burgeoning literature on "mysticism" and religious experience...there is much to recommend about this book - to begin with, it is a treasure of philosophical review on these issues..." The Journal of Religion