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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.
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.
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
About the Author 301
Posted September 10, 2009
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