Beyond the Threshold: Afterlife Beliefs and Experiences in World Religions

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Overview

In every culture throughout history, people have asked the same fundamental question about what will happen to them when they die. From the underworld to the light at the end of the tunnel, beliefs and experiences of death abound. And even though we cannot know for sure what happens to us after death, our understanding of the afterlife can have a profound impact on how we live. Beyond the Threshold is the first book to seriously examine the afterlife through the lens of both world religions and metaphysical experiences. Christopher M. Moreman includes an introduction to the afterlife beliefs of ancient cultures, which are essential to understanding the roots of many modern ideas about death. He examines the folklore and doctrines of major world religions, including Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, and Taoism. He also discusses psychic phenomena across traditions, such as mediums, near-death and out-of-body experiences, and past-life memories. While ultimately the afterlife remains unknowable, Moreman's unique, in-depth exploration of both beliefs and experiences can help readers reach their own understanding of the afterlife and how to live. No other book in the field approaches the issue of the afterlife from so many angles, but Moreman weaves them skillfully together into an accessible and engaging book.

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Editorial Reviews

Gary Laderman
Christopher M. Moreman has written a useful, wide-ranging book on death and dying that should be a valuable resource in courses or for general readers. It is comprehensive, covering both perspectives in the world religions and investigations in contemporary research on experiences of the afterlife, and insightful in its comparative emphasis on beliefs and phenomena. This text makes an important contribution to the literature on religion, death, and dying.
Lucy Bregman
Beyond the Threshold presents valuable summaries of two distinct and important bodies of material: an overview of how major world religions view the afterlife, and modern empirical research on paranormal experiences that might be seen to confirm or disprove the afterlife beliefs found in religion. Christopher M. Moreman analyzes this unique pairing of material in a balanced and respectful manner, opening up space for discussion about the intriguing interplay between traditional views of the afterlife and paranormal experiences.
Journal Of The Society For Psychical Research
A valuable book....As an introductory text it is excellent, and even for those well versed in the subject there is much to surprise and interest....This book is both timely and important.
Publishers Weekly

California State University philosophy professor Moreman surveys ideas about the afterlife taught in world religions and manifest in psychic phenomena in this ambitious but pedestrian book. The breadth of his research is impressive, and the inclusion of the paranormal and inexplicable-mediums, past-life memories, near-death experiences, apparitions-affords a rational look at what many have taken seriously in a variety of cultures and epochs. The author is at his best in a concluding chapter that explains manifestations of the transcendent. Drawn from previous work, the final chapter shows more editorial polish than the rest of the book, which suffers from dull academic prose, frequently in the passive voice. On the whole, this could be a useful text for students, but less attractive for general readers. (Nov.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780742562295
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 11/16/2010
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 312
  • Sales rank: 1,081,154
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Christopher M. Moreman is assistant professor in the Department of Philosophy at California State University, East Bay, where he teaches courses in comparative religion.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Introduction 1

Part 1 An Overview of Beliefs in an Afterlife from Major World Religions

Chapter 1 Ancient Conceptions 11

Chapter 2 Judaism 35

Chapter 3 Christianity 53

Chapter 4 Islam 77

Chapter 5 Hinduism 97

Chapter 6 Buddhism 117

Chapter 7 Chinese Religions 139

Part 2 An Overview of the Research into Experiences of an Afterlife

Chapter 8 Mediumship 161

Chapter 9 Apparitions and Hauntings 183

Chapter 10 Near-Dead, and Out-of-Body Experiences 207

Chapter 11 Past-Life Memories 227

Part 3 Beliefs and Experiences: An Attempt at a Synthesis

Chapter 12 Comparison of Beliefs 245

Chapter 13 Comparison of Phenomena 257

Chapter 14 Conclusions 269

Bibliography 283

Index 297

About the Author 301

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