Reading the Bible Through Neuroscience

Discussion not limited to prophecy.

Reading the Bible Through Neuroscience

Postby Exit40 on Tue Sep 19, 2017 7:54 am

Reading the Bible Through Neuroscience
What was it like inside the brain of an ancient prophet?
SIGAL SAMUEL 4:50 AM ET RELIGION

James Kugel has been spent his entire scholarly career studying the Bible, but some very basic questions about it still obsess him. What was it about the minds of ancient Israelites that allowed them to hear and see God directly—or at least, to believe that they did? Were the biblical prophets literally hearing voices and seeing visions, understanding themselves to be transmitting God’s own exact words? If so, why did such direct encounters with God become rarer over time?

In his new and final book, The Great Shift, Kugel investigates these questions through the lens of neuroscientific findings. (The approach is reminiscent of other recent books, like Kabbalah: A Neurocognitive Approach to Mystical Experiences, co-written by a neurologist and a mysticism scholar.) First, Kugel uses biblical research to show that ancient people had a “sense of self” that was fundamentally different from the one modern Westerners have—and that this enabled them to experience and interpret prophecy differently than we do. Then he uses scientific research to show that we shouldn’t assume their view was wrong. If anything, our modern Western notion of the bounded, individual self is the anomaly; most human beings throughout history conceived of the self as a porous entity open to intrusions. In fact, much of the rest of the world today still does.

Psychics Who Hear Voices Could Be On to Something

Kugel cites several studies showing that even now, many healthy people hear voices—as much as 15 percent of the general population. He also cites a recent cross-cultural study in which researchers interviewed voice hearers in the United States, Ghana, and India. The researchers recorded “striking differences” in how the different groups of people felt about the voices they hear: In Ghana and India, many participants “insisted that their predominant or even only experience of the voice was positive. … Not one American did so.”...

Continues

God Bless

David
Eph 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God

T'was Grace that taught my heart to fear.
And Grace, my fears relieved.
How precious did that Grace appear
The hour I first believed.
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