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Death, Ecstasy, and Other Worldly Journeys
Death, Ecstasy, and Other Worldly Journeys
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John J. Collins - Editor
Michael Fishbane - Editor
Price: $95.00 
Hardcover - 441 pages
Release Date: March 1995
ISBN10: 0-7914-2345-X
ISBN13: 978-0-7914-2345-5

Price: $36.95 
Paperback - 441 pages
Release Date: March 1995
ISBN10: 0-7914-2346-8
ISBN13: 978-0-7914-2346-2

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Summary Read First Chapter image missing

This is a psychological and historical exploration of belief in a spirit world, imperceptible to the senses, as a pervasive and deeply-rooted characteristic of religion.

Belief in a spirit world, and a blissful or agonizing afterlife, is one of the most pervasive and deeply-rooted characteristics of religion. This volume offers a wide-ranging exploration of this basic religious theme. Most of the case studies are drawn from Jewish and Christian tradition, providing in-depth coverage of Judaism and Christianity from late Antiquity through the Medieval period. There are also examples from Islamic, Japanese, and Chinese traditions for a comparative perspective with Western traditions.

Several chapters deal with the formative period of Jewish and Christian apocalypticism, which is concerned not only with the end of the physical world but also with the eternal heavenly world. These chapters are also important for illustrating the development of mysticism in Western traditions.

The most distinctive aspect of this book is that it does not deal with antiquity alone, but juxtaposes the historical essays with a survey of modern day, near-death experiences. It raises issues of fundamental importance for the psychology of religion as well as for its history.

John J. Collins is Professor of Hebrew Bible and Post-biblical Judaism at the University of Chicago. His books include Between Athens and Jerusalem: Jewish Identity in the Hellenistic Diaspora; The Apocalyptic Imagination; and The Scepter and the Star: Messianism in the Light of the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Michael Fishbane is Nathan Cummings Professor of Jewish Studies at the University of Chicago, where he is also Chair of the programs in Jewish Studies. He is the author or editor of 10 other books.

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Table of Contents



Chapter 1 Wisdom's Place

Jonathan Z. Smith

Chapter 2 Ascent to the Stars in a Mesopotamian Ritual:Social Metaphor and Religious Experience

Tzvi Abusch

Late Antiquity

Chapter 3 A Throne in the Heavens: Apotheosis in Pre-Christian Judaism

John J. Collins

Chapter 4 The Seven Heavens in Jewish and Christian Apocalypses

Adela Y. Collins

Chapter 5 Paul and the Beginning of Jewish Mysticism

Alan F. Segal

Chapter 6 The Practice of Ascent in the Ancient Mediterranean World

Martha Himmelfarb

Chapter 7 Mystical Descents

Guy G. Stroumsa

The Crown of Immortality: Toward a Redescription of Christian Martyrdom

Arthur J. Droge

Chapter 9 Abathur, A New Etymology

Nathaniel Deutsch


Chapter 10 The Imagination of Death in Spirituality Jewish

Michael Fishbane

Chapter 11 Weeping, Death, and Spiritual Ascent in Sixteenth Century Jewish Mysticism

Elliot R. Wolfson

Chapter 12 Between Authority and Indeterminacy: Some Reflections on Kabbalistic Hermeneutics

Moshe Idel

Chapter 13 Hekhalot and Mi’raj:Observations on the Heavenly Journey in Judaism and Islam

David J. Halperin

Chapter 14 The Role of the "Anima Mundi" as Mediator Between the Divine and Created Realms in the Twelfth Century

Bernard McGinn

Early Modern

Chapter 15 Death and the Distribution of Sacral Power in Early Japanese Mythistory

Gary L. Ebersole

Chapter 16 To Hell and Back: Death, Near-Death and Other Worldly Journeys in Early Medieval China

Robert Ford Campany

Chapter 17 Sir Henry Vane: Mystical Piety in the Puritan Revolution

W. Clark Gilpin


Chapter 18 Death, and Near-Death Today

Carol Zaleski


Biblical References Index

Nonbiblical Authors and Works Index

Modern Authors Index

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