By Gregory Shushan
Gregory Shushan demanding situations post-modern scholarly attitudes relating cross-cultural comparisons within the research of religions. In an unique and cutting edge piece of comparative learn, he analyses afterlife conceptions in 5 old civilisations (Old and center country Egypt, Sumerian and previous Babylonian Mesopotamia, Vedic India, pre-Buddhist China, and pre-Columbian Mesoamerica).
These are thought of in mild of old and modern reviews of near-death reviews, and shamanic afterlife ‘journeys'. Conceptions of the Afterlife in Early Civilizations is an important research, for it provides a accomplished new comparative framework for the cross-cultural learn of fable and faith, whereas even as offering 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
Segal adds that ‘The difference between the selectiveness of a generalist and that of a particularist is only one of degree. The broader the scale of a comparison, the more selective the elements compared will be. . ’ J. Z. Smith (2000: 239) has allowed for the possibility of responsible comparison if undertaken with an accounting of each given example’s 18 Conceptions of the Afterlife in Early Civilizations ‘social, historical, and cultural environments that invest it with its local significance’, as well as of how one’s own scholarly context may affect his or her approach and interpretations.
Perhaps the most important lesson postmodernism has taught us is the impossibility of an entirely neutral and value-free scholarship. Pure objectivity is an impossibility, and one’s perspective is limited by his/her cultural/ historical context. Notwithstanding, we can still conduct our research in a way which attempts to be as unbiased as possible – particularly those of us who hold no personal religious convictions or allegiances. Anticipating suspicions that I may be a crypto-theologian, I should clarify that I am a confirmed agnostic, presuming neither to believe nor to disbelieve in that which is not known.
832–810 bce. While extrapolating race from figurines is potentially dubious given the vagaries of artistic expression, it is significant to the present study that the figures appear to be evidence of shamanism, possibly suggesting that it was imported to China. One of the earlier figures is marked with the same sign used on oracle bone inscriptions meaning ‘ritual meditator’, or ‘shaman’. The eighth-century figures are marked with the Old Sinitic sign for ‘shaman’ or ‘mage’, which may indicate itinerant Persian magi working in China (Mair 1990: 36; cf.
Conceptions of the afterlife in early civilizations: Universalism, constructivism and near-death experience by Gregory Shushan