Carol Zaleski, Otherworld Journeys

#1
Has anyone read "Otherworld Journeys" by Carol Zaleski?

I think, of most all people who've added their voice to the NDE conversation, she would be one of the best to have on Skeptiko. This is because she investigated the history of NDEs and has shown that they are culturally influenced over time. Several hundred years ago, they didn't include the same markers that they do today. This ought to be addressed.

Personally, I don't really think this takes away from their implications/reality because I've never believed in the literal/physical-ness of them . . . rather, I've believed in them as spiritual, mental - no less real that normal reality, mind you - happenings, for lack of a better way to put it.

http://books.google.com/books/about/Otherworld_Journeys.html?id=5NzYAAAAMAAJ
 
#2
I think in addition to NDEs, reincarnation should be probed & brought to limelight.The trouble with these phenomena is that it is taken advantage of by people who want to make money and try to fool the gullible.It is a classical case of 99% of fakes giving the genuine 1% a bad name.
 
#3
Thanks for this, I'll add it to my list of books I must read before I die. Sounds intriguing, is it really that good? I've kind of been put off by reading books on the subject since most of them appear to just regurgitate what others have said but I'm more than willing to try again. ;)

Oh and hello by the way. I'm very new here but looking forward to getting to know everyone. :D
 
#4
Thanks for this, I'll add it to my list of books I must read before I die. Sounds intriguing, is it really that good? I've kind of been put off by reading books on the subject since most of them appear to just regurgitate what others have said but I'm more than willing to try again. ;)

Oh and hello by the way. I'm very new here but looking forward to getting to know everyone. :D
Hi Sally. I guess we're all new on this brand new forum!
 
#5
So Im not sure if I will read the book, but since you have, where is she going with this information?
I read some reviews and they are very vague about what conclusions the author is coming to. Is she implying that the NDE experience has changed over time due to cultures and that its all in the persons mind or is she expanding on the thought that the NDE is made up of the culture but its how the person interprets the passing over that defines their experience?
Thanks for the reading recommendation.
 
#6
Thanks for this, I'll add it to my list of books I must read before I die. Sounds intriguing, is it really that good? I've kind of been put off by reading books on the subject since most of them appear to just regurgitate what others have said but I'm more than willing to try again. ;)

Oh and hello by the way. I'm very new here but looking forward to getting to know everyone. :D
Hello.

It's not a book written as much for popular consupmtion as a lot of others . . . and it seems pretty well researched and intelligent. But at any rate, it's definitely not the same ol' stuff regurgitated . . . in fact, I find it to kind of be an anomaly and is why I suggested it . . . the (long term) historical look at NDEs is never mentioned anywhere else (to my knowledge) . . .
 
#7
So Im not sure if I will read the book, but since you have, where is she going with this information?
I read some reviews and they are very vague about what conclusions the author is coming to. Is she implying that the NDE experience has changed over time due to cultures and that its all in the persons mind or is she expanding on the thought that the NDE is made up of the culture but its how the person interprets the passing over that defines their experience?
Thanks for the reading recommendation.
I really can't say what prompted me to suggest the book at this point . . . because I actually read it a couple years back . . . so, forgive me if this is a bit insufficient.

I'd characterize the book as scholarly . . . rather than as cofirmatory or (pseudo) skeptical . . . I believe she's a professor, but forgot where; and she's also connected to a periodically published book of the best spiritual writings of the year . . . perhaps her husband edits it?

So, the thing is, as I see it, she's simply presenting some facts and we can do with 'em what we'd like . . . But, like all of us, she wants to believe that consciousness survives and says as much . . . I personally wasn't led to a "it's all simply in people's head" conclusion . . . for one because there are still all the other facts that would have to be squared off with . . . though, for the reason that I started the thread and made the interviewee suggestion, it does seem to change the dialogue somewhat.

I know that doesn't help a lot, but maybe it does a bit . . .
 

Ian Gordon

Ninshub
Member
#8
I found it overrated and, in the end, a little off-putting. I think it would be obvious to say there's a relation between culture and NDEs, but not one so simple as proposed there - unless you're coming from a belief that NDEs are a brain-based hallucination to begin with. I thought the author was coming from a very sociology-heavy angle (I don't want to be completely naive about interpreting NDEs, but I don't want to view them automatically either through an academic sociology-anthropology perspective, which has assumptions at its base), and I also think there is some sort of an agenda related to preserving the religious traditions (Zaleski is/was a professor of religion and biblical literature), e.g.:

"At this stage I see no justification for treating contemporary near-death testimony as the foundation for a new eschatology or religious movement. Near-death literature is at its best when it is modest and anecdotal; pressed into service as philosophy or prophecy, it sounds insipid. There is no match here for the revelatory literature of the great religious traditions..." (p. 204)

I'm also not convinced the author has proved all those old stories (if they can be taken as fact, which is another problem) were NDEs.
 
#9
I found it overrated and, in the end, a little off-putting. I think it would be obvious to say there's a relation between culture and NDEs, but not one so simple as proposed there - unless you're coming from a belief that NDEs are a brain-based hallucination to begin with. I thought the author was coming from a very sociology-heavy angle (I don't want to be completely naive about interpreting NDEs, but I don't want to view them automatically either through an academic sociology-anthropology perspective, which has assumptions at its base), and I also think there is some sort of an agenda related to preserving the religious traditions (Zaleski is/was a professor of religion and biblical literature), e.g.:

"At this stage I see no justification for treating contemporary near-death testimony as the foundation for a new eschatology or religious movement. Near-death literature is at its best when it is modest and anecdotal; pressed into service as philosophy or prophecy, it sounds insipid. There is no match here for the revelatory literature of the great religious traditions..." (p. 204)

I'm also not convinced the author has proved all those old stories (if they can be taken as fact, which is another problem) were NDEs.
Thanks for the thoughts, Ian.

For the record, though, I was neither defending nor attacking her. For whatever shortcomings, she's no debunker . . .

And true, we don't really know how accurate those stories are . . . but they do at least bring something new and seldom talked about to the table: very old near death experiences . . .

And also for the record, being culturally influenced wouldn't/doesn't negate them at all to me anyway; it's not like, assuming the stories were accurate, that I'd simply think they - NDEs - were simply hallucinations . . . I suppose my metaphysical belief system assumes there'll be personal and cultural differences in these types of things . . . at least to some degree.
 
#10
You can have her and her tag team partner husband, Philip.

http://www.christiancentury.org/article/2011-07/mass-finds-its-voice

"The Credo duly begins "I believe," spoken in unison to convey at once the individual and corporate character of faith ... Speaking of Christ as "consubstantial {Note: a term approved by the infamous Council of Nicea} with the Father" and "incarnate of the Virgin Mary" plumbs the divine-human nature more deeply than the abstract "one in Being with the Father" and "born of the Virgin Mary."...Just before communion, the centurion's voice rings out again: "Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof"—living words that transport the worshiper into the gospel environment."

vs

John 14:20 -- "On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you"

and

"Change can be unsettling, but in this case the change is right and just. The postconciliar Catholic mass has found its English voice. The best response I can imagine is a Hebrew word that survives intact in all tongues, the final word of the New Testament—Amen."

Amen? lol

Amen(hotep)

http://www.assatashakur.org/forum/kemetic-neteru/30622-amun-amen-ra-amen.html
 
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