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Religion, Spirituality and the Near-Death Experience Paperback – 7 Nov 2002

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Product details

  • Paperback: 392 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge (7 Nov. 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0415288312
  • ISBN-13: 978-0415288316
  • Product Dimensions: 1.9 x 13.3 x 21 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 684,996 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Author

Dr. Mark Fox researches and writes on the twin - and related - topics of religious and spiritual experience. He adopts a multi-disciplinary approach to these subjects, beginning with the recognition that testimonies are all that we usually have (unless we have had such experiences ourselves) so testimonies are what we must seek to investigate and understand. His books draw on and analyse a wealth of previously unpublished - and frequently fascinating - accounts of near-death and out-of-body experiences, visions, encounters with unusual lights, and overwhelming experiences of love. Sympathetic yet scholarly, his work is aimed at 'specialists' and general readers alike.

Mark Fox's previous books include 'Religion, Spirituality and the Near-Death Experience', published by Routledge in 2003, and 'Spiritual Experiences With Unusual Light Phenomena: Lightforms' which was published by the University of Wales Press in 2008 and which was described by the Fortean Times as "essential reading" for anyone interested in "anomalous events that bridge the objective and subjective worlds." His latest book, 'The Fifth Love: Exploring Accounts of the Extraordinary', has recently been published by Spirit and Sage.

Product Description


"People who live to tell of near-death experiences claim to remember the comings and goings of everything around them, even during their unconscious teetering on death's brink. They also seem to share the same script - silence, darkness, tunnels and, of course, heavenly light. The eerie similarities of their accounts make most of us consider the possibility of life after death and author Mark Fox has certainly given it serious thought. In Religion, he attempts to connect the latest research in near-death experiences to philosophical musings. His effort yields plenty of compelling first-person yarns, culled from more than 100 survivors.."-Psychology Today, June 2003

About the Author

Dr Mark Fox is a member of Lampeter University's Religious Experience Research Centre committee, and an active member researcher into religious and paranormal experience. He currently lectures in philosophy and religious studies at Joseph Chamberlain College in Birmingham.

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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 20 Dec. 2003
Format: Paperback
This is a scholarly work, which is well researched and gives a balanced view of all that has gone before. The early chapters contain some torturous sentence constructions which made it hard to grasp the thrust of the arguement presented but Mark Fox then seems to settle in to the book and subsequent chapters are more free flowing and clearly expressed.
Fox clearly knows his stuff but doesn't condescend or patronise. In presenting the history of NDE research and theological contexts he provides explanation and detail.
He pulls no punches where he identifies failures in previous 'research'. His disappointment to discover that accounts (apparently from people without vision) were manufactured, is palpable. He identifies this as an important area for future research.
The heart of this book is in his fascinating examination of previously unexplored accounts contained in the archives at Lampeter university. These are crucial because they pre-date 1975 when exploration of NDE began. Fox is open in acknowledging that his work raises more questions than answers but the questions he poses and his ideas for future work are fascinating.
For anyone interested in this subject area, whether new to it (as I was) or already knowledgeable, this book provides a solid base of information and ideas. I am glad I bought it and I look forward to seeing what else Fox has up his sleeve.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 7 Feb. 2003
Format: Paperback
I didn't know much about the subject of Near-Death Experiences (NDEs) so this was a good book to buy to learn about it!
The whole of the 1st Chapter covers the history of NDEs and details all the main researchers and what they've written on the subject to date.
One of the book's main questions was "If people are talking of dying, approaching lights and having life reviews, why has Theology remained so quiet on such an outstanding subject - Chapter 2 covers this. Chapter 3 is called "Defining the light: Language , Epistemology and the NDE. Chapter 4 talks of neuroscience and how it attemps to explain NDEs. Chapter 5 offers the fascinating area of NDEs in the blind: people previously blind who reported being able to see during their NDEs and what they reported.
Chapter 6 offers a new study of almost 100 testimonies of previously unpublished NDEs collected over 30 years.
The final chapter talks of building bridges and where does our research go from here?
So, by the time you've read this, you'll be completely up-to-date on NDEs!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 8 reviews
22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
Raising vital questions... while raising your consciousness. 23 Jun. 2003
By - Published on
Format: Paperback
Not everyone who is resuscitated after reaching a point where they would be pronounced clinically "dead" has what has come to be called an "NDE"; but an awfully significant proportion do have such an experience - extraordinary both subjectively and objectively, as can be seen by the research reports.
The phenomenon refuses to be explained away in any simple or straight forward way. The thousands of cases analyzed to date offer scientists a lot of evidence to weigh, present theologians with challenges to long-established scriptural interpretations, and give any inquisitive mind a pause to re-ask fundamental questions about human consciousness and spirituality.
Mark Fox has done a fine job of pulling together the most current studies and the persisting issues surrounding the NDE phenomenon. He is level-headed and fair and writes with a pleasant, reader-respecting style (unlike some other strident volumes which are bent on sharpening some particular ideological or social axe).
The fundamental crux in resolving what to do with the NDE phenomenon seems to be: Why does a moment when PHYSICAL functioning is at its worst provide (more often than not) a CONSCIOUSNESS that is functioning peacefully, joyfully, and even with greater accuracy and more information than ordinarily?
If you read Fox's documentation of this phenomenon, I think you'll find the search for satisfactory answers to this mystery well worth your consideration.
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Not fully satisfied 10 May 2007
By Van Isle Rev - Published on
Format: Paperback
As someone with a keen curiosity about Near Death Experiences, I found this book to be something of a disappointment.

On the plus side, Fox collects and examines a wide assortment of near-death narratives from a variety of sources, including the standard books on NDEs (near-death experiences) by folks like Raymond Moody and Kenneth Ring. In addition, Fox draws upon the files of the Religious Experience Research Centre housed at the University of Wales; these accounts provide a further means with which to identify the key elements of the particular type of religious experience known as an NDE, in contrast and comparison with the other types of religious-experience collected in the RERC files. For those who are new to this literature, Fox's book provides a helpful overview; he is to be commended for the thoroughness of his research.

I was less impressed, however, with Fox's attempts at walking readers through the complex maze of current academic conversation regarding NDEs. To his credit, Fox approaches each academic paradigm with a genuine spirit of openness; nevertheless, this reader was left with the impression that Fox was simply unwilling to engage these various academic paradigms with critical rigor, let alone acknowledge that they can't all be of equal validity. Those shortcomings would be less of an irritant, were Fox himself not so inclined to lecture theologians and philosophers over their reluctance to become more engaged in the whole area of NDE research. Indeed, Fox's book unwittingly provides powerful justification for their reluctance! Despite their considerable fascination, theologians and philosophers alike are wise to approach NDEs with considerable caution since they provide--Fox's assertions to the contrary notwithstanding--a thin foundation on which to build either a theological or a philosophical edifice.

On the whole, this is a volume I would recommend only to those deeply interested not only in Near Death Experiences, but in the multi-dimensional academic conversation that has grown up around NDEs over the past 25 years.
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
transformation and information 26 Dec. 2003
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Paperback
After reading many books by several empowering authors such as Betty Eadie, John Edward, Sylvia Browne, and Tiffany Snow,- that I am still reading, my life has opened up to me in such a compelling and wonderful way. This new book is well written, and thought provoking. There are great transforming authors, who shift the consciousness of humankind in a way never known before, and have the courage to reveal their paranormal experiences. Snow does it by bridging religion and spirituality after a personal lightning strike NDE, and "Religion, Spirituality" does it from a combination of others.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
An excellent introduction to this fascinating subject 17 May 2008
By Mr. Paul M. Quirk - Published on
Format: Paperback
I came to this subject fairly fresh in that I have not studied this material before. I have heard stories in the media about near-death experiences (NDE) of course as have most people and have been curious about them. This book proved to be an excellent volume to gain some real insight into this fascinating subject.

Fox spends the first 2/3 of the book reviewing and discussing the various disciplines which have attempted to engage with the NDE phenomena. His style is to report what the leading thinkers in each area have said or proposed and then to ask questions of that view and compare it with the views from other disciplines. The result was that each chapter created fascination for me as each new area was explored, enriching what I had learned in the earlier ones with a new viewpoint and enabling me to see both the strengths and weaknesses in each area.

After this thorough grounding, in the final 1/3 of the book he embarks on his presentation of his research into a set of previously unpublished accounts found in the Religious Experiences Research Centre. With the knowledge gained in the first part of the book I found it easier to engage with these accounts. Contrary to the "standard wisdom" purported to exist elsewhere, these accounts demonstrate a great deal of variability. Fox chooses to present them using a series of themes, such as "light", "sound", "ineffability" and "meeting others", looking for consistency between accounts and demonstrating significant differences between them.

Overall I found this book an excellent introduction to this subject area and heartily recommend it.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Excellent, Substantive Study of a Vitally Important Field. 16 Jan. 2010
By Anne Rice - Published on
Format: Paperback
In a way, I've been looking for this book for a long time. I've always wanted an in depth, impartial scholarly study of the Near Death Experience, and of the many books and research projects related to the field. This book is it. It's substantive, clearly written, very well documented and filled with important insights. I am in the midst of reading it, but can already recommend it whole-heartedly to those who are interested in this research. After reading many popular accounts of NDE's, I have not been able to understand why the general public is not more curious about them, and why so many skeptics buy into the rather flippant idea that the NDE is simply a chemical reaction of the human brain under stress. The popular accounts have always left me intrigued and wanting more. This book is providing the rigorous study that I've craved. Highly recommended.
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