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What Is It Like To Be Dead? – Near-Death Experiences, Christianity, and the Occult - Oxford Scholarship Online
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What Is It Like To Be Dead?: Near-Death Experiences, Christianity, and the Occult

Jens Schlieter


This book offers a modern genealogy of “near-death experiences,” outlining the important functions of these experiences in the religious field of Western modernity. Emerging as autobiographical narratives in the legacy of Christian deathbed visions, narratives of near-death experiences were used in Western religious metacultures (Christian, Esoteric, and Spiritualist–Occult) as substantial proof for the survival of death. In its historical part, the study demonstrates how certain features of near-death experiences, for example, the panoramic life review or autoscopic out-of-body-experiences, e ... More

Keywords: near-death experiences, out-of-body experiences, panoramic life review, afterlife visions, discursive history, history of religion, drug experiences, religious metacultures, religious narratives, religious experience

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2018 Print ISBN-13: 9780190888848
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2018 DOI:10.1093/oso/9780190888848.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Jens Schlieter, author
Professor, Co-Director, Institute for the Science of Religion, University of Bern

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Part One Near-Death Experiences as Religious Discourse

Part Two The Different Strands of Death: Western Discourse on Experiences Near Death (1580–1975)

Part Three “Near-Death Experiences” as Religious Protest Against Materialism and Modern Medicine in the 1960s and 1970s

Part Four Wish-Fulfilling Expectations, Experiences, Retroactive Imputations: In Search of Hermeneutics for Near-Death Experiences

Part Five The Significance of Near-Death Experiences for Religious Discourse