Defense Date


Graduation Date

Spring 5-7-2021


Immediate Access

Submission Type


Degree Name





McAnulty College and Graduate School of Liberal Arts

Committee Chair

James Swindal

Committee Member

Jay Lampert

Committee Member

Richard Rojcewicz


phenomenology, religion, Husserl, conversion, Saint Paul, transcendental, philosophy, existentialism


The goal of this dissertation is to offer a systematic phenomenology of the conversion experience based primarily on the transcendental method of Husserl. Conversion is an empirical phenomenon that, when phenomenologically analyzed, is revealed to have several eidetic or essential features that shape any conversion in general. After reviewing the secondary literature on conversion, I construct a synthetic account of the empirical experience. I then sketch the transcendental phenomenological method and proceed to evaluate conversion as a firsthand experience in the “natural attitude” which is necessary in order to ensure that I can exclude or bracket all of the assumptions that I make regarding conversion in this attitude once I enter the phenomenological attitude. Before attempting a reduction of conversion, in the phenomenological attitude I explore the nature of self and consciousness, and I examine the nature of conversion as an embodied phenomenon. I also revisit the famous conversion story of Saint Paul, which I treat as a phenomenological case study. Finally, I present an eidetic account of the conversion experience, where my most important claim is that on the phenomenological level all conversions require judgment, the world, the Other, and time-consciousness. Ultimately, I conclude that conversion is a fundamental human experience for which we appear to be phenomenologically predisposed.