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Out-of-body and Near-death Experiences Brain-State Phenomena or Glimpses of Immortality? by Michael N. Marsh
  

Out-of-body and Near-death Experiences Brain-State Phenomena or Glimpses of Immortality?

Part of the Oxford Theological Monographs Series

RRP £84.00

Synopsis

Out-of-body and Near-death Experiences Brain-State Phenomena or Glimpses of Immortality? by Michael N. Marsh

Personalised accounts of out-of-body (OBE) and near-death (NDE) experiences are frequently interpreted as offering evidence for immortality and an afterlife. Since most OBE/NDE follow severe curtailments of cerebral circulation with loss of consciousness, the agonal brain supposedly permits 'mind', 'soul' or 'consciousness' to escape neural control and provide glimpses of the afterlife. Michael Marsh critically analyses the work of five key writers who support this so-called dying brain hypothesis. He firmly disagrees with such otherworldly 'mystical' or 'psychical' interpretations, ably demonstrating how they are explicable in terms of brain neurophysiology and its neuropathological disturbances. The original basis and thrust of Marsh's claim sees the recorded phenomenology as reflections of brains rapidly reawakening to full conscious-awareness, consistent with other reported phenomenologies attending recovery from antecedent states of unconsciousness: the re-awakening brain hypothesis. From this basis, Marsh also offers a re-classification of NDE into early and late phase sequences, thereby dismantling the untenable concepts of core and depth experiences. Marsh further provides a detailed examination of the spiritual and quasi-religious overtones accorded OBE/NDE, highlighting their inconsistencies when compared with classical accounts of divine disclosure, and the eschatological precepts of resurrection belief as professed credally. In assessing the implications of anthropological, philosophical, and theological concepts of 'personhood' and 'soul' as arguments for personal survival after death, Marsh celebrates the role of conventional faith in appropriating the expectant biblical promises of a 'New Creation'.

Reviews

This is a very worthwhile stufy, drawing together insights from brain science and ... theology to shed important light on an area which has been hotly debated. Michael Fuller, Expository Times


About the Author

Professor Michael Marsh read medicine at Magdalen College, Oxford and became an academic biomedical research physician in Manchester. In 2006 he was received a Distinguished Investigator Award for his work on gluten intolerance (coeliac disease) and his classification of the intestinal responses which are now internationally adopted. While approaching retirement he took an Oxford degree in Theology, subsequently returning to Magdalen to write a D.Phil thesis on neurophysiological and theological approaches to near-death and out-of-body experiential phenomenology. He is now at Wolfson College and, in addition, a Fellow of the Oxford Centre for Christianity and Culture at Regent's Park College, University of Oxford.

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Book Info

Publication date

21st January 2010

Author

Michael N. Marsh

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Publisher

Oxford University Press

Format

Hardback
336 pages

Categories

Christian theology
Christian spirituality & religious experience
Philosophy of mind
Physiological & neuro-psychology, biopsychology

ISBN

9780199571505

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