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eBook Paul in Ecstasy: The Neurobiology of the Apostle's Life and Thought epub

by Colleen Shantz

eBook Paul in Ecstasy: The Neurobiology of the Apostle's Life and Thought epub
  • ISBN: 0521866103
  • Author: Colleen Shantz
  • Genre: Christians
  • Subcategory: Bible Study & Reference
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press; 1 edition (April 27, 2009)
  • Pages: 278 pages
  • ePUB size: 1383 kb
  • FB2 size 1481 kb
  • Formats rtf txt doc mbr


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Colleen Shantz pursues the topic of religious ecstasy through a variety of disciplines - most notably .

Shantz attempts to examine "ecstatic elements in Paul's letters" (19) which means she is seeking to get at Paul's neurological responses via experiences ("an essential ingredient" 210) induced through spirit possession. The book claims to provide as well "cogent explanations for bewildering passages in Paul's letters.

Article in The Journal of Theological Studies 62(1):316-322 · April 2010 with 4 Reads. February 2007 · Brain Behavior and Immunity. DOI: 1. 093/jts/flq149. Cite this publication.

Paul in Ecstasy book.

While many readers of Paul's letters recognize how important his experience was to his life and thought, Biblical scholars have not generally addressed this topic head-on.

Chicago Distribution Center. The Apostle Paul in Arabia. The Journal of Religion. Volume 90, Number 4 October 2010. Stephen's Defense before the Sanhedrin. Some Characteristics of Hinduism as a Religion. The Ethical Theory of Saint Thomas Aquinas: Interpretations and Misinterpretations. The Code of Hammurabi.

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The Neurobiology of the Apostle's Life and Thought. Colleen Shantz, University of St Michael's College, Toronto and Toronto School of Theology. Publisher: Cambridge University Press.

While many readers of Paul's letters recognize how important his experience was to his life and thought, Biblical scholars have not generally addressed this topic head-on. Colleen Shantz argues that they have been held back both by a bias against religious ecstasy and by the limits of the Biblical texts: How do you responsibly access someone else's experience, particularly experience as unusual and debated as religious ecstasy? And how do you account responsibly for the role of experience in that person's thought? Paul in Ecstasy pursues these questions through a variety of disciplines - most notably neuroscience. This study provides cogent explanations for bewildering passages in Paul's letters, outlines a much greater influence of such experience in Paul's life and letters, and points to its importance in Christian origins.
Comments: (3)
Daiktilar
I am not done with this book and do not have time to write a detailed review at this point, but this is an incredible book, both from a biblical studies perspective and a neuropsychological one. The author is well versed in both fields, which is very rare. I am understanding aspects of the Pauline texts that I read very differently,and I better understand how some of the theological controversies that arose could be potentially resolvable. The necessary foundation for understanding of various neurological states is provided in the text for the reader without that background, including altered states of consciousness (ASCs)and their neurological correlates and the more intense states of "absolute unitary being" (AUB). Particular passages are analyzed in terms of evidence for these various subjective mental states. This is a very expensive book but for the student who is interested in the growing concept of neurotheology, it is an essential case study. If you have Kindle, it is $20 cheaper.
Damand
Shantz attempts to examine "ecstatic elements in Paul's letters" (19) which means she is seeking to get at Paul's neurological responses via experiences ("an essential ingredient" 210) induced through spirit possession. The book claims to provide as well "cogent explanations for bewildering passages in Paul's letters." She in effect seeks to understand "how Paul came to know such things" (5,66) utilizing modern neuroscience which takes five chapters and 211 pages. But this is not just a neurological reading because she tells us that the aim of this study is to "add religious experiences as an impetus for communication and a source of its content" (209).

Shantz's first chapter assesses how people have misread Paul's religious experience. It is a "problem of seeing" (63). What she suggests is to lay aside that "impurity" of sort and dig down into what is really behind Paul's language (63-66). And although this overall study is very unique and investigative, her chapter 2 on "Paul's Brain: The Cognitive Neurology of Ecstasy" especially gets kodos for originality. Here she'll use/discuss such phraseology as "electrochemical phenomenon in the brain" (84); "temporal lobe activity" (87); "history of brain" (74); "model of neurological tuning" (81); and finally an examinatin of 2 Cor 12:1-4.

Discussion of Paul's actual "ecstatic discourse" in "religious trance", in paradise, with visions and revelations,Paul's soma,transformation in Christ in life and death, ecstasy and suffering make up her chapter 3 by focusing on Romans 8 & 2 Cor. 3-5. She concludes that "Paul's ecstasy is part of his public persona" which is why he shares such details in his letters (142). Paul's knowledge of the death of Christ is transformative because according to Shantz "the neurocognitive phenomena of ecstatic religious experience generate a sense of shared identity." An "imprinting of Paul's neural network," in other words, have occured. Thus when Paul writes his letters "by placing experience before discourse, the resulting exegesis explains some of the unusual features of Paul's thought-especially his so-called Christ-mysticism-more satisfactorily than traditional theological readings can" (143).

Her longest chapter 4 seeks to place "Paul's comments within a coherent sense of the social dynamics of this public practice" (145) by focusing especially on the Corinthian correspondence. She'll discuss "altered states of consciousness" (ASC) such as the experience of glossolalia occuring in Corinth; pneumatology; signs and wonders; ecstatic prayer and shamanism (though she does not believe Paul was a shaman).

Her final short chapter concludes by stressing that Paul's experience was one without language, "not verbal" but rather an expression of the "body" and as such when reading Paul one ought not to grasp his ideas "as ends in themselves" but rather as "inadequate and even misaligned substitutes for something that was more important to Paul" (207). Thus Paul's religious experiences needs to be heralded and rethought afresh in order to get behind what was really meaningful to him. This Shantz refers to as "blindsight" which is when the body knows "more than the text reveals" (210-211) and is therfore how we should be "reading" Paul.

This 267 page book includes a Bibliography of 39 pages; 6 pages of Ancient Sources; 9 pages of Index of Modern Authors; and Subject Index of 3 pages.

Finally for me Shantz' book, as her last few words state, was "a delight and a mystery" (211). I recommend it as an interesting read and I concur that this study is unique and a needed addition to current theological hermeneutical interpretation of Paul. I thought it was interesting how she explained Paul's "neurological storms centered in the temporal lobe" (151) but a mystery in that large segments of it I deemed unhelpful. Readers of Paul have always attempted to get behind his aims and ideas. There is nothing new about that. How can "blindsight" ever be helpful except in realizing one is blind and can only guess at what really was behind Paul's thoughts?

Thankfully for 2000 years the Holy Spirit has been helping the church interpret Paul!
fabscf
Jesus is day by day looking more like an Abrahamic prophet preaching monotheism and submission to the one God of the patriarchs.
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