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Imagining Karma: Ethical Transformation in Amerindian, Buddhist, and Greek Rebirth
     

Imagining Karma: Ethical Transformation in Amerindian, Buddhist, and Greek Rebirth

by Gananath Obeyesekere
 

ISBN-10: 0520232208

ISBN-13: 9780520232204

Pub. Date: 11/11/2002

Publisher: University of California Press

With Imagining Karma, Gananath Obeyesekere embarks on the very first comparison of rebirth concepts across a wide range of cultures. Exploring in rich detail the beliefs of small-scale societies of West Africa, Melanesia, traditional Siberia, Canada, and the northwest coast of North America, Obeyesekere compares their ideas with those of the ancient and

Overview

With Imagining Karma, Gananath Obeyesekere embarks on the very first comparison of rebirth concepts across a wide range of cultures. Exploring in rich detail the beliefs of small-scale societies of West Africa, Melanesia, traditional Siberia, Canada, and the northwest coast of North America, Obeyesekere compares their ideas with those of the ancient and modern
Indic civilizations and with the Greek rebirth theories of Pythagoras, Empedocles, Pindar, and Plato. His groundbreaking and authoritative discussion decenters the popular notion that
India was the origin and locus of ideas of rebirth. As Obeyesekere compares responses to the most fundamental questions of human existence, he challenges readers to reexamine accepted ideas about death, cosmology, morality, and eschatology.

Obeyesekere's comprehensive inquiry shows that diverse societies have come through independent invention or borrowing to believe in reincarnation as an integral part of their larger cosmological systems. The author brings together into a coherent methodological framework the thought of such diverse thinkers as Weber, Wittgenstein, and Nietzsche.
In a contemporary intellectual context that celebrates difference and cultural relativism, this book makes a case for disciplined comparison, a humane view of human nature, and a theoretical understanding of "family resemblances" and differences across great cultural divides.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780520232204
Publisher:
University of California Press
Publication date:
11/11/2002
Series:
Comparative Studies in Religion and Society Series
Pages:
477
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.25(d)
Lexile:
1420L (what's this?)

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations


Preface
List of Abbreviations

1. Karma and Rebirth in Indic Religions: Origins and Transformations
2. Non-Indic Theories of Rebirth
West Africa
3. The Imaginary Experiment and the Buddhist Implications
4. The Buddhist Ascesis
5. Eschatology and Soteriology in Greek Rebirth
6. Rebirth and Reason
7. Imprisoning Frames and Open Debates: Trobriander, Buddhist, and Balinese

Methodological Postscript
Notes
Bibliography
Index

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