This chapter discusses “extreme” and “moderate” forms of subjective religious experience. It starts with an inquiry of the phenomenology of subjective experience, leading to the concept of religious experience in cognitive research. The next part of the chapter considers the contextual factors that generate and influence religious experience, including beliefs, textual traditions, neuroanatomy, and practices. The lobes theory of religious experience is outlined, which connects social, theological, and ritual variables to cognitive patterns. The lobes theory is used to continue the discussion of the situation in the Corinthian Church. The final part of the chapter deals with ancient tours of heaven, using neuroscientific evidence to make sense of their overall structure and particular details. The neuroscientific two-phase model is applied to the tour of heaven in the Ascension of Isaiah, followed by a brief discussion of other early Jewish and Christian apocalypses.
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