Conceptions of the afterlife in early civilizations : by Gregory Shushan

By Gregory Shushan

In an unique and leading edge piece of comparative learn, Gregory Shushan analyses afterlife conceptions in 5 old civilisations (Old and heart country Egypt, Sumerian and outdated Babylonian Mesopotamia, Vedic India, pre-Buddhist China, and pre-Columbian Mesoamerica). those are thought of in gentle of historic and modern reviews of near-death reviews, and shamanic afterlife 'journeys'. Conceptions of the Afterlife in Early Civilizations is an important examine, for it offers a complete new comparative framework for the cross-cultural research of delusion and faith, whereas while delivering a desirable exploration of the interface among trust and adventure - in addition to a problem to post-modern scholarly attitudes referring to cross-cultural comparisons in the learn of religions.  The publication was once nominated for the 2011 Grawemeyer Award.

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The Mesoamerican traditions actually have two separate language groups, Uto-Aztecan and Mayan. Caution is required in considering this as further indication of cultural independence, however: Driver (1974: 110) has cited ethnographic examples in North America where language is wholly unrelated between groups but culture is nearly identical; and conversely groups with closely related languages and wholly different cultures. Indeed, the Sumerians and Akkadians were culturally indistinguishable despite their different language groups (Roux 1964: 140).

Lincoln 1991). Since two of our civilizations are Near Eastern (and non-Indo-European, as are China and Mesoamerica), the implication is that the similarities should not occur. Jorgensen (1974: 200–1) wrote that if the cultures sampled are 26 Conceptions of the Afterlife in Early Civilizations independent of each other, . . one does not have to appeal to prejudice, or to authority, or to one or two possible examples, or to impression, or to polemic to demonstrate the merit of the hypothesis and its validation.

A metaphysical explanation8 does not require an associated theological system for its formulation and expression, and can in fact be independent of one. A theological explanation, however, indicates requisite faith in such a system, and would conform to the preconceived framework of that faith. The second problem is that Martin is proposing one type of assumption over another without explicit reasoning. Similarly, arguments which appear designed to reinforce structuralist/functionalist preconceptions are also common in comparative studies.

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