Conceptions of the Afterlife in Early Civilizations: by Gregory Shushan

By Gregory Shushan

Gregory Shushan demanding situations post-modern scholarly attitudes touching on cross-cultural comparisons within the learn of religions. In an unique and cutting edge piece of comparative study, he analyses afterlife conceptions in 5 old civilisations (Old and heart country Egypt, Sumerian and previous Babylonian Mesopotamia, Vedic India, pre-Buddhist China, and pre-Columbian Mesoamerica).

These are thought of in mild of historic and modern studies of near-death studies, and shamanic afterlife 'journeys'. Conceptions of the Afterlife in Early Civilizations is an important research, for it offers a finished new comparative framework for the cross-cultural learn of fantasy and faith, whereas while delivering a desirable exploration of the interface among trust and experience.

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Extra info for Conceptions of the Afterlife in Early Civilizations: Universalism, Constructivism and Near-Death Experience

Sample text

Neither the phenomenological nor the comparative methods (as opposed to ‘phenomenology’ and ‘comparative religion’ as theoretical/theological stances) are mutually incompatible with agnosticism (theoretical and metaphysical), theoretical eclecticism, and reflexivity. A theoretical eclecticism which is open-ended (and open-minded) enough to consider metaphysical theories does not indicate that the comparison is defined by a universalist agenda in which the researcher discovers unity in world religions because he or she is looking for them out of humanistic or theological motives (see Martin 2000b: 279).

Arguments that comparison in general and claims of universality in particular are necessarily theologizing exercises are thus without merit. e. ’ He argues that the solution is a ‘new comparativism’ which disregards such theories and instead advocates the a priori adoption of ‘naturalistic’ ones. The first problem here is that Martin’s use of ‘theological’ as a synonym for ‘metaphysical’ is both inaccurate and misleading (and presumably deliberately provocative). A metaphysical explanation8 does not require an associated theological system for its formulation and expression, and can in fact be independent of one.

Perhaps one of the reasons comparative studies have so often focused on similarities is that the dissimilarities are both expected and incalculably vast. It is unsurprising to find that Egyptian Osiris does not judge the Vedic dead, or that Sumerian Inana does not descend to the Chinese Yellow Springs to play football with the decapitated head of Maya underworld hero-twin Xblanque. Uniqueness is not denied, but taken for granted. It is normative ‘difference’ which reveals the similarities, while the concept of ‘different’ is only comprehensible by reference to the concept of ‘similar’.

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