The Life of the World to Come: Near-Death Experience and Christian Hope: The Albert Cardinal Meyer Lectures

Carol Zaleski, Author
Carol Zaleski, Author Oxford University Press, USA $25 (112p) ISBN 978-0-19-510335-9
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In these graceful meditations, Zaleski, a professor of religion at Smith College, searches for the affinities between narratives of near-death experiences (NDEs) and the traditional Christian doctrines of hope and the afterlife. Delivered originally as lectures during the Octave of Easter, Zaleski's reflections are ordered according to the three great hours (Lauds, Vespers, Compline) of the Divine Office. The meditation on Lauds, or morning prayer, thus explores the ways that NDEs may be understood as awakenings to the reality of death, while the meditation on Vespers, or evening prayer, reflects upon the NDE as an experience on the threshold of death. Weaving a rich tapestry of images of the afterlife from the writings of the early Church fathers and from New Age accounts of NDEs, Zaleski concludes that traditional Christian images of the afterlife may be greatly enriched by an encounter with the images of afterlife offered in NDE accounts. Because Zaleski's meditations possess that rare combination of intellectual gravity and lyrical playfulness, they are certain to appeal to a wide range of readers. (May)
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