Hearing Things: Religion, Illusion, and the American Enlightenment

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Harvard University Press, 2000 - Religion - 318 pages
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‚eoeFaith cometh by hearing‚e ‚e"so said Saint Paul, and devoted Christians from Augustine to Luther down to the present have placed particular emphasis on spiritual arts of listening. In quiet retreats for prayer, in the noisy exercises of Protestant revivalism, in the mystical pursuit of the voices of angels, Christians have listened for a divine call. But what happened when the ear tuned to God‚e(tm)s voice found itself under the inspection of Enlightenment critics? This book takes us into the ensuing debate about ‚eoehearing things‚e ‚e"an intense, entertaining, even spectacular exchange over the auditory immediacy of popular Christian piety.The struggle was one of encyclopedic range, and Leigh Eric Schmidt conducts us through natural histories of the oracles, anatomies of the diseased ear, psychologies of the unsound mind, acoustic technologies (from speaking trumpets to talking machines), philosophical regimens for educating the senses, and rational recreations elaborated from natural magic, notably ventriloquism and speaking statues. Hearing Things enters this labyrinth‚e"all the new disciplines and pleasures of the modern ear‚e"to explore the fate of Christian listening during the Enlightenment and its aftermath.In Schmidt‚e(tm)s analysis the reimagining of hearing was instrumental in constituting religion itself as an object of study and suspicion. The mystic‚e(tm)s ear was hardly lost, but it was now marked deeply with imposture and illusion.
 

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Hearing things: religion, illusion, and the American enlightenment

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The mid-19th-century was a time of religious revival in America, as well as a time of great scientific experimentation, with the science of acoustics developing instruments to aid hearing just as the ... Read full review

Review: Hearing Things: Religion, Illusion, and the American Enlightenment

User Review  - BHodges - Goodreads

Great book. Highly recommended. Not sure if I'm up for a full review of this one, too much to chew on. Write your own. Read full review

Contents

WoodCylinder Stethoscope 1821
2
A Multiple Stethoscope in Use 1910
4
Hearing Loss
15
Sound Christians
38
Day of Judgment ca 1800
62
Religious Camp Meeting by J Maze Burbank ca 1839
69
Oracles of Reason
78
Acojtsttc Temple 1805
79
The Witch of Endor 1681
138
A Clever Invention 1775
142
The Mathematics of Speaking Trumpets 1765
147
Phantasmagoria 1831
154
Spiritualist Acoustics 1880
159
Ventriloquist Louis Comte and a Speaking Pig 1816
175
Monsieur Alexandre as Sisters 1822
177
Anatomy of the Ear 1615
181

Christianitys Triumph over the Pagan Oracles 1707
93
The Priestcraft of the Oracles 1683
95
Histoire des Oracles 1728
97
Calling the Faithful through Speaking Trumpets 1673
107
Speaking Busts 1673
109
Speaking Machine 1791
112
Acoustic Experiment with a Speaking Trumpet 1672
115
Speaking Figure 1784
119
A Listener to a Modern Oracle ca 1840
122
The Questioner of the Sphinx by Elihu Vedder 1863
130
A Reprise of The Questioner of the Sphinx by Elihu Vedder 1875
131
How to Become a Ventriloquist
135
The Orifice of the Ear 1737
183
The Labyrinth of the Ear 1737
184
William Paleys Anatomical Theology 1802
186
Artificial Ears 1817
188
Voices from SpiritLand
199
A Swedenborgian Angel 1814
206
Angelic Care 1868
226
A Mediums Speaking Trumpet 1915
240
Epilogue
246
Index
307
Copyright

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About the author (2000)

Leigh Eric Schmidt is Edward C. Mallinckrodt University Professor at Washington University in St. Louis. He is the author of numerous books, including "Heaven s Bride: The Unprintable Life of Ida C. Craddock, American Mystic, Scholar, Sexologist, Martyr, and Madwoman", "HearingThings: Religion, Illusion, and the American Enlightenment", and "Consumer Rites: The Buying and Selling of American Holidays".

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