Bailey, Lee W. 1943- (Lee Worth Bailey)

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Bailey, Lee W. 1943- (Lee Worth Bailey)


Born November 21, 1943, in West Palm Beach, FL; son of Harold (in business) and Anne (in business) Bailey; married Anne Brinton (a medical transcriptionist), June 15, 1974; children: Soren and Rhiannon. Education: University of Illinois, B.F.A., 1965; Columbia University, M.Div., 1970; Syracuse University, Ph.D., 1983. Politics: Democrat. Religion: Protestant.


Home—Brooktondale, NY. E-mail—[email protected]


Academician. Ithaca College, Ithaca, NY, associate professor of world religions, 1983-2005.


American Academy of Religion (Eastern International Region copresident, 2001), Metanexus, Humanities and Technology Association, International Association of Near-Death Studies.


Recipient of research grants from Syracuse University and Ithaca College.


(Editor, with Jenny Yates) The Near-Death Experience: A Reader, Routledge (New York, NY), 1996.

(Editor, with Mary Pat Fisher) An Anthology of Living Religions, Prentice Hall (Upper Saddle River, NJ), 2000, 2nd edition, Pearson/Prentice Hall (Upper Saddle River, NJ), 2007.

The Enchantments of Technology, University of Illinois Press (Urbana, IL), 2005.

(General editor) Introduction to the World's Major Religions, six volumes, Greenwood Press (Westport, CT), 2006.

Editor of the CD-ROM, The Sacred World: Encounters with the World's Religions, Prentice-Hall (Upper Saddle River, NJ), 2003. Contributor to periodicals and journals, including Studies in Religion, Voice of the Liberal Arts at Ithaca College, Critical Review of Books in Religion, Spring: An Annual of Archetypal Psychology and Jungian Thought, Journal of Near-Death Studies, Ithaca College Quarterly, Explorations: Journal for Adventurous Thought, Philosophy and Technology, Artifex, International Journal of Humanities, and Journal of the American Academy of Religion.


Lee W. Bailey told CA: "I write because there are urgent problems to be explored and solved in the realm of world religions and cultures. The rapid expansion of industrialism around the world is bringing material improvements—food, medicine, travel, and communications. But it is also creating serious ethical problems by negatively spreading crude materialism, reckless over-consumption, commercialism, pollution, and global warming. It also breeds neglect of the spiritual aspects of life, such as the repression of empathy for people, animals, and nature, and the denial of implicit commitments in the name of a supposed objectivity.

"Two major strands influence my work: my early training in industrial design and my religious experiences. My undergraduate degree in industrial design at the University of Illinois gave me a sense of the relation of machines to humans and of artistic creativity. I shifted to the study of religion out of frustration with the excesses of commercialism in industrial design. After college I moved to Greenwich Village in New York City, where I was radicalized at Judson Church in 1966. Then I was further radicalized at Union Theological Seminary in New York City, an interdenominational Protestant school, where bold questions about religion are cultivated. After seminary, I taught at two Quaker schools and was influenced by admirable Quaker liberal politics, pacifism, and mediation. I also met my wife during that time. We are now United Methodists, and I combine Christianity with Zen meditation and many interfaith themes from world religions.

"At Syracuse University I was in the Humanities Ph.D. program and was further radicalized by Professor David L. Miller, who greatly influenced my scholarship. I focused my studies on the theme of myth studies, which was just taking off at the time. I studied Jung and the Jungians as a way of understanding religious imagery archetypally, and benefited greatly from a few years of Jungian psychotherapy. Jung's psychology helps us see the numberless images of divinity, from goddesses to stones. I also enjoyed James Hillman and Huston Smith at Syracuse, and was influenced there by my introduction to Martin Heidegger, whose ideas have echoed through numerous current movements, such as postmodernism and deconstructionism.

"I was able to travel to Holland during grad school and research further the work of three major Dutch scholars, whom I had already read on psychological and religious projection, especially Simon Vestdijk and Han Fortmann. I also uncovered the influence of the old camera obscura and the magic lantern (slide projector) on Freud's 1895 theory of projection. This furthered my conviction that the theory of projection is based on the fading subject-object metaphysics of industrial society, isolating the subject in a dead world of objects. So I have sought to find new ways to express the phenomenon we call ‘projection’—as attribution or participation. This is expressed in my dissertation, ‘Myths of Projection’ in 1983.

"I began teaching at Ithaca College in 1983, expanding my study of world religions and themes such as death and immortality, near-death experiences, myths in the media, and religion and environment, by teaching them. I published articles in the areas of myth and religious projection. After meeting Mary Pat Fisher, I was invited to consult on her popular Prentice-Hall text, which I used, Living Religions, and then I was invited to coedit with her the accompanying An Anthology of Living Religions, which we recently revised for its second edition. Routledge invited a colleague, Jenny Yates of Wells College, and me to edit The Near-Death Experience: A Reader in 1996, an early survey of NDE cases and the interpretive literature.

"I am active in the American Academy of Religion, and served in 2001 as cochair of the Eastern International Region with Professor Jane Marie Law at Cornell. We organized a bang-up annual conference on ritual that year and had a lot of fun. Prentice-Hall asked me in 2003 to be the video editor for a CD-ROM to accompany some of their world religion texts called The Sacred World: Encounters with the World's Religions. I revised the CD-ROM in 2007 to create a new expanded and updated online version for students called MYRELIGIONLAB. Greenwood Press asked me to edit a six-volume library reference set called Introduction to the World's Major Religions. I wrote the volume Christianity for the set.

"I became interested in android robots as anthropomorphic images of industrial humans, and this expanded into the book The Enchantments of Technology, published by the University of Illinois Press in 2005. This book explores the desires and passions in supposedly ‘objective’ form, such as our obsessions with speed, airlines, spaceships, and android robots. I realized that android robots are high-tech puppets, toys attempting to enact the mechanical worldview's fantasy of bringing machines to life. At conference presentations in the United States and Europe, I pleased some engineers and angered others with this argument.

"I believe in order to move into the next era of the earth's culture we must learn to balance industry with sustainable living on earth, supported by new spiritualities leading us into harmony with the earth's wonders. This should lead us into a new perception ultimate reality that suprasses the ancient principles of domination over nature.

"I retired from Ithaca College in 2005, and I am still active in conferences, travel, volunteer work, and writing.

"My writing process is very intuitive. I listen for the voices within and without. I study current research intensively, and revise many drafts. I have learned to listen to colleagues and editors who give me feedback—cutting and slashing and rewriting when needed. Writing about spirituality is a complex art combining both research and intuitive and direct listening to the sacred in the world, society, and culture. A blend of cognitive and poetic writing touches both the critical, analytical mind, and the imaginative, spiritual soul. I write the first draft uncritically, just from inspiration, then allow in ‘the judge.’ I am willing to throw early drafts away and rewrite, because I believe that I can do better. I advise that as you write, you should listen to both the scholarly conversation in your research and the passions in your dreams."



Booklist, May 1, 2006, Robin Hoelle, review of Introduction to the World's Major Religions, p. 102.

Choice: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries, March, 2006, A.M. Strauss, review of The Enchantments of Technology, p. 1244; July 1, 2006, A.C. Barnhart, review of Introduction to the World's Major Religions, p. 1966.

Library Journal, June 15, 1996, L. Kriz, review of The Near-Death Experience: A Reader, p. 79.

Midwest Book Review, October, 2006, review of Introduction to the World's Major Religions,

New Scientist, October 26, 1996, review of The Near-Death Experience, p. 45.

Omega: The Journal of Death and Dying, December, 1997, Robert L. Wrenn, review of The Near-Death Experience, p. 423.

Parabola, summer, 2006, Miranda F. Mellis, review of The Enchantments of Technology.

Reference & Research Book News, February, 2006, review of Introduction to the World's Major Religions.

Reference & User Services Quarterly, winter, 2006, Mark L. Grover, review of Introduction to the World's Major Religions.

School Library Journal, June, 2006, Patricia D. Lothrop, review of Introduction to the World's Major Religions, p. 95.

Technology and Culture, October, 2006, Fred Nadis, review of The Enchantments of Technology, p. 816.


Ithaca College Web site, (December 6, 2007), author profile.

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