The Confusion of Worlds

Resurrection, the Kingdom of God, and Otherworld Experiences

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Heiner Schwenke
  • Eugene, OR: 
    Pickwick Publications
    , January
     2019.
     232 pages.
     $28.00.
     Paperback.
    ISBN
    9781532656026.
     For other formats: Link to Publisher's Website.

Description

The idea of the resurrection of the physical body and the eternal continuation of life with this body in a future paradisiacal kingdom of God on earth is one of the most enigmatic of religious ideas. It fully contradicts our knowledge of the transitoriness of all things in this universe. According to the author, the origin for this idea lies in certain forms of otherworld experiences, as, for example, reported by people who had near-death experiences: encounters with the dead in brilliantly beautiful bodies and the experience of paradisiacal, seemingly earthly landscapes. He observes that cultures with a pre-modern cosmology sometimes projected such otherworld experiences onto this world, to distant and unknown locations on earth. These experiences were the blueprint for an expectation of paradisiacal conditions on earth. The author establishes parallels between the reports of otherworld experiences and the eschatological ideas of Zoroastrianism, Judaism, and Christianity. He shows that otherworld experiences can indeed foster the expectation of paradisiacal conditions on earth by referring to the Ghost Dance movement of the Lakota people in 1890. He presumes that the confusion of worlds proved fatal not only for the Lakota people but also for Jesus of Nazareth.

About the Author(s)/Editor(s)/Translator(s): 

Heiner Schwenke is Research Fellow at the Faculty of Theology at the University of Basel.

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