Tanya Luhrmann, "How God Becomes Real: Kindling the Presence of Invisible Others" (Princeton UP, 2020)


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Today I interview Tanya Luhrmann about her new book, How God Becomes Real: Kindling the Presence of Invisible Others (Princeton University Press, 2020). Luhrmann is the Watkins University Professor at Stanford University, where she teaches psychology and anthropology. And her work is fascinating. She’s interested in what seems like an impossible question: how it is that people from vastly different religious and spiritual traditions experience their gods and their spirits as real? She goes about answering this question in a very straightforward way. Well, asks Lurhmann, what do their believers do and what do they learn to do such that they might turn to you and say, “Oh yes, God is real. I just had coffee with God this morning.” Lurhmann’s book is keenly argued and lucidly written, which is to say Lurhmann is not just a brilliant scholar but also an engaging writer and speaker, which makes her book and Lurhmann herself all the more of a pleasure to encounter.

Eric LeMay is on the creative writing faculty at Ohio University. His work ranges from food writing to electronic literature. He is the author of three books, most recently In Praise of Nothing: Essay, Memoir, and Experiments (Emergency Press, 2014). He can be reached at eric@ericlemay.org.

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