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Article

Do We All Live Story-Shaped Lives? Narrative Identity, Episodic Life, and Religious Experience

Brite Divinity School, Texas Christian University, Fort Worth, TX 76109, USA
Religions 2021, 12(2), 71; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12020071
Received: 5 November 2020 / Revised: 15 January 2021 / Accepted: 18 January 2021 / Published: 22 January 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion, Experience, and Narrative)
This article focuses on exploring the concept of narrative identity, which has emerged as an integrative concept in various academic fields. Particularly in philosophy and psychology, scholars have claimed that humans are storytellers by nature and tell their stories that develop in them a sense of identity. However, this concept has been criticized by those who have argued that while some people are Diachronic (narrative), some are Episodic (non-narrative). People with an episodic disposition do not or are not able to live a narrative or story of some sort. In order to explore the distinction between Diachronic and Episodic dispositions, I analyze the autobiographical writing of Leo Tolstoy, namely Tolstoy’s personal religious experience presented in William James’ “The Varieties of Religious Experience”. This particular case study demonstrates how an Episodic person can become Diachronic and gain a sense of unity and a sense of self through religious experience. In the end, I argue that Episodic and Diachronic dispositions are not mutually exclusive in an individual’s life, but that individuals may at different points in life experience their lives in one manner or another. View Full-Text
Keywords: narrative identity; life story; autobiography; episodic memory; virtue ethics; narrative unity; storytelling; episodic disposition; non-narrative; religious experience; religious identity narrative identity; life story; autobiography; episodic memory; virtue ethics; narrative unity; storytelling; episodic disposition; non-narrative; religious experience; religious identity
MDPI and ACS Style

Cho, E.D. Do We All Live Story-Shaped Lives? Narrative Identity, Episodic Life, and Religious Experience. Religions 2021, 12, 71. https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12020071

AMA Style

Cho ED. Do We All Live Story-Shaped Lives? Narrative Identity, Episodic Life, and Religious Experience. Religions. 2021; 12(2):71. https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12020071

Chicago/Turabian Style

Cho, Eunil D. 2021. "Do We All Live Story-Shaped Lives? Narrative Identity, Episodic Life, and Religious Experience" Religions 12, no. 2: 71. https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12020071

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