Book Review: The Superhumanities

Historical Precedents, Moral Objections, New Realities by Jeffrey J Kripal

Jeremy Zerby
2 min readMay 16, 2023

I read a lot of books like this. Explorations of an intellectual topic or a scholarly idea. Concepts primarily. And most of those books tend to be, rather than the author talking about their own ideas and thoughts on the topic, they tend to be criticisms and breakdowns of the positions and works of other people on the topic.

Jeffrey Kripal’s book, The Superhumanities, does that at times, but the majority of his time is spent discussing his own position on spirituality and the humanities and the inclusion of spirituality into the humanities, which he calls the Superhumanities.

The basis for his entire philosophy rests in the idea that humans are already superhuman, borrowing from Nietzsche and his idea of the Übermensch, or superman. If you are unfamiliar with Nietzsche, the basic idea he is speaking about is that there exists a type of human who can evolve past a traditional Christian morality and become the person who makes the rules.

According to Kripal, humans are already this, they have just been encourages to suppress or ignore those aspects of themselves. And our intellectuals have done the same. The humanities tends to ignore the spiritual in order to focus on the depressing and boring aspects of human history and development. So Kripal is arguing for a rebirth of the humanities that includes the reality of spiritual experience as a genuine piece of human history. He advocates throughout the pages of this book for the factual basis for human experience, including psychic abilities and ghostly encounters.

These things have happened to people, so they have got to be real…somehow.

He even takes the time to look at authors and scientists who are traditionally talked about as atheists, such as William James and Nietzsche, both of whom embraced the reality of supernatural experience.

While the book is directed toward the educational community, there is a lot here that the layperson can learn from and should take into consideration, especially if you spend time interacting with the general public or those who might hold to different ideologies than you do.


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the author and/or publisher through the Speakeasy blogging book review network. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR,Part 255.



Jeremy Zerby

Hermeneutics, religion, pop psychology, self-help, and culture. They are all connected, and I am here to explain how.