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When Souls Had Wings – Pre-Mortal Existence in Western Thought - Oxford Scholarship Online
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When Souls Had Wings: Pre-Mortal Existence in Western Thought

Terryl L. Givens


When Souls Had Wings represents the first attempt to trace a history of “pre-heaven,” the idea that the human soul (or spirit) had an existence prior to its mortal birth. Philosophers from Plato through Leibniz and Kant to J. E. M. McTaggart, thinkers in Jewish and Christian traditions, and poets from the seventeenth century to Robert Frost have propounded a transcendent realm peopled by the souls of humans yet unborn. This book documents the presence of this idea historically and investigates its meaning for those who embrace it, the reasons for its prevalence, the literary, cult ... More

Keywords: free will, preexistence, pre-mortal, soul, spirit, unborn, universals

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2009 Print ISBN-13: 9780195313901
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2010 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195313901.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Terryl L. Givens, author
University of Richmond
Author Webpage