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By Gregory Shushan

Gregory Shushan demanding situations post-modern scholarly attitudes pertaining to cross-cultural comparisons within the research of religions. In an unique and leading edge piece of comparative study, he analyses afterlife conceptions in 5 historical civilisations (Old and center nation Egypt, Sumerian and outdated Babylonian Mesopotamia, Vedic India, pre-Buddhist China, and pre-Columbian Mesoamerica).
These are thought of in mild of historic and modern stories of near-death reviews, and shamanic afterlife ‘journeys'. Conceptions of the Afterlife in Early Civilizations is an important research, for it provides a finished new comparative framework for the cross-cultural learn of delusion and faith, whereas whilst delivering a desirable exploration of the interface among trust and adventure.

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Extra resources for Conceptions of the afterlife in early civilizations: Universalism, constructivism and near-death experience

Sample text

The identifiability of the image is irrespective of culture-specific words for ‘person’, beliefs about people, or relationships between humans and their cultural, historical or environmental contexts. Arguing that references to light in texts relating to the afterlife from five different civilizations are subjective constructs would be an equally nonsensical denial of the apparent. Certainly my knowledge of one text (or of the NDE) enables me to identify parallel elements in another, just as my knowledge of the appearance of humans enables me to recognize images of them regardless of (most) tradition-specific artistic styles.

4500–3300 bce (ibid. e. ), the only identifiable cultural impact comes from Mesopotamia. g. Dalley 1998: 14–15), often infer more influence than is clear from the evidence. 3500–3200 bce [Mark 1998: 10–20]) where the earliest hieroglyphic inscriptions occur. Nevertheless, if cultural elements such as iconography can be transmitted, so can religious beliefs. Mark (1998: 115) argues that Osiris was either a Mesopotamian import or a syncretistic Mesopotamian-Egyptian deity. This is based on a common use of the two ideograms meaning ‘seat’ and ‘eye’ to designate both Osiris and the Babylonian deity Marduk.

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).

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