Camden Theological Library

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Flights of the Soul

Posted on 17 February 2014 Gavin Glenn

Visions, Heavenly Journeys and Peak Experiences in the Biblical World

Reports of prophetic dreams, of journeys into the heavens, and of other alternate states of consciousness abound in the Old and New Testaments and in extra-biblical literature. And although some scholars consider such reports to be simple literary devices, John J. Pilch—a leading expert in social scientific interpretation of the Bible—argues that ancient accounts of alternate consciousness are both plausible and significant, constituting a very commonplace, very real, and very human experience in their cultures of origin.

Integrating biblical exegesis with insights from anthropology, cognitive neuroscience, psychology, and the social sciences, Pilch investigates and interprets such phenomena as Ezekiel’s prophetic visions, Enoch’s sky journeys, Jesus’ transfiguration and ascension, Paul’s ecstatic vision on the road to Damascus, John’s heavenly journeys described in Revelation, and more. His innovative study presents a fresh and intriguing perspective on these fascinating, sometimes puzzling biblical accounts.

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