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Conceptions of the Afterlife in Early Civilizations Universalism, Constructivism and Near-death Experience by Gregory Shushan, Gavin D. Flood

Conceptions of the Afterlife in Early Civilizations Universalism, Constructivism and Near-death Experience


Part of the Continuum Advances in Religious Studies Series


Conceptions of the Afterlife in Early Civilizations Universalism, Constructivism and Near-death Experience by Gregory Shushan, Gavin D. Flood

Gregory Shushan challenges post-modern scholarly attitudes concerning cross-cultural comparisons in the study of religions. In an original and innovative piece of comparative research, he analyses afterlife conceptions in five ancient civilisations (Old and Middle Kingdom Egypt, Sumerian and Old Babylonian Mesopotamia, Vedic India, pre-Buddhist China, and pre-Columbian Mesoamerica).These are considered in light of historical and contemporary reports of near-death experiences, and shamanic afterlife 'journeys'. Conceptions of the Afterlife in Early Civilizations is a significant study, for it presents a comprehensive new comparative framework for the cross-cultural study of myth and religion, while at the same time providing a fascinating exploration of the interface between belief and experience.This groundbreaking new series offers original reflections on theory and method in the study of religions, and demonstrates new approaches to the way religious traditions are studied and presented.Studies published under its auspices look to clarify the role and place of Religious Studies in the academy, but not in a purely theoretical manner. Each study will demonstrate its theoretical aspects by applying them to the actual study of religions, often in the form of frontier research.


. ..a very well-written book by a consummate scholar. Each of Gregory Shushan's sentences is pregnant with facts...Shushan's book is a major contribution to the field of comparative religion and near-death studies. It is a 'must-read
for students of religious experience. De Numine, Autumn 2009

About the Author

Gregory Shushan is Visiting Lecturer in Religious Studies at University of Wales Lampeter, UK; and Research Associate at University College Cork, Ireland. Gavin Flood is Academic Director of the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies and the author of An Introduction to Hinduism (CUP 2004).

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Book Info

Publication date

7th May 2009


Gregory Shushan, Gavin D. Flood

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Continuum International Publishing Group Ltd. an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing PLC


256 pages


Ancient religions & mythologies



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