Essay about Neurotheology and Prophecy in the Hebrew Bible

Essay about Neurotheology and Prophecy in the Hebrew Bible

Length: 2560 words (7.3 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Term Papers

Open Document

Essay Preview

Neurotheology is becoming an increasingly popular strand of theology. Although trances of this branch of theology can be traced back to the 70’s, it really became an area of interest in the mid 90’s. Neurotheology is a process of studying religious and spiritual phenomena with the neuroscientific perspective. This field is continuing to grow and with better technology for neuro-imaging and a growing understanding of the human mind theologians can use this framework to better understand a wide variety of theological concepts. One theme in particular that is dominant in the Hebrew Bible is that of ecstatic states and prophecy. This phenomenon can be found in almost every culture and time period yet cannot be traced back to any one. Erika Bourguinon, one of the most prominent ethnologists in the area of altered states of consciousness, examined trance states as they appeared in cross-culturally. In a study examining institutionalized altered states she shows that, “of a sample of 488 societies, in all parts of the world, for which we have analyzed the relevant ethnographic literature, 437, or 90% are reported to have one or more institutionalized, culturally patterned forms of altered states of consciousness.” This phenomenon of trance states is of great significance, as it appears to be a major aspect of human behaviour and religious experience. When examining prophecy in the Hebrew Bible this method of examination can shed insight into the behaviours of the prophets and onto our interpretation of them. Trance states, or ecstatic states, in the Hebrew Bible have long been problematic for biblical scholars. Many scholars have found it problematic to reconcile the seemingly erratic behaviours of trance states and other rationalist...

... middle of paper ...

... 2012) 1-9.

14. Shantz, C. Paul in Ecstasy: The Neurobiology of the Apostle’s Life and Thought. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 2009.

15. Singer, S. “Mystical-ecstatic and Trance States.” In The British Journal of Psychiatry. Vol. 152. 296-297. 1988.

16. Taves, A. Religious Experience Reconsidered: A Building Block Approach to the Study of Religion and Other Special Things. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2009.

17. Trimble, M. The Soul in the Brain: The Cerebral Basis of Language, Art and Belief. Baltimore, Maryland: John Hopkins University Press, 2007.

18. Ed. Walter, M. and Neumann Friedman, E. Shamanism: an Encyclopedia of World Beliefs, Practices and Culture. Santa Barbara, California: ABC-CLIO, 2004.

19. Wilson, R. Prophecy and Ecstasy: A Reexamination. In Journal of Biblical Literature, Vol. 98, No. 3. (Sept. 1979). Pp. 321-337.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Violence, Power, and Goals in the Hebrew Bible and The Iliad Essay

- ... Sacrifices are, in nature, very violent. Innocent blood is spilled to please the vengeful God. In Exodus 12, "the Lord struck down all the first-born in the land of Egypt, from the first-born of Pharaoh who sat on the throne the first-born of the captive who was in the dungeon, and all the first-born of the cattle" (Exodus 12:29). God did all that just because the Pharaoh stubbornly refused to let the Israelites leave his country. The immense sacrifice of the first-borns of man and beast was an act of violence that led the exodus of the Israelites....   [tags: the hebrew bible, the iliad, literary analysis]

Term Papers
1349 words (3.9 pages)

Hebrew Nomads View on the Creation Essay

- ... This is the story the Babylonians would have believed in when they heard Genesis. Genesis starts by saying “in beginning God created the heavens and the earth”. The Bible talks about God speaking things into existence. First God made the light, which He separated into day and night. Next, God created the sky and then the waters. “He called the dry ground ‘land’ and the waters ‘seas’”. This is when God says that “it was good”. God states that his creations are good, which is different from the creations of Enuma Elish....   [tags: Genesis, Hebrew, Bible]

Term Papers
1165 words (3.3 pages)

The Book of Zephaniah in the Hebrew Bible Essay

- Zephaniah 3:9-20 is a biblical passage in the Hebrew Bible that features many different interpretations and can be related to various other biblical passages and stories as well. There are numerous historical and cultural contexts within this passage and the literary genre and structure, as well as theology are themes that are prominent in these verses of Zephaniah. The language and imagery in this particular book of the Hebrew Bible are culturally specific and deeply imbedded in the traditions of the Near East....   [tags: old testament, minor prophets]

Term Papers
1265 words (3.6 pages)

Role Of Ruth And Esther In The Bible Essay

- Torah (the Law) "…means "teaching" or "instruction"…(Harris, 3) for mankind. The Torah includes both the Oral Law and the Written Law. In addition, the Law is an extension of sacred oral tradition, thus broadening the meaning of Torah to designate the entire body of Jewish laws, customs, and ceremonies. Nevi'im( the Prophets) "…consists of narratives relating to Israel's …" (Harris, 3) history as a nation on its land and a "…collections of oracles" (Harris, 6) . Supporters of God's covenant do battle against the paganism of neighboring groups and among the Israelites themselves....   [tags: Hebrew Bible Religion Religious]

Free Essays
1327 words (3.8 pages)

Prophecy in the Bible: Daniel 9:24-27 Essay

- One of the most compelling attributes about the Bible is that it is full of prophecy. Christ Himself fulfilled three hundred and fifty-one of the Old Testament prophecies about the Messiah. One in particular is the prophecy of the seventy years in Daniel 9:24-27. Here we look not only to the foretelling of events leading up to the crucifixion of Christ and to the future of today, but also into the authority of the authorship of God’s sovereignty. When we examine the prophecy given to Daniel by the angel Gabriel, we start to see the time frame from which God gives redemption to mankind....   [tags: Christianity and Christian beliefs, Old Testament]

Term Papers
1456 words (4.2 pages)

Hebrew Bible Exegesis Essay

- The translation and exegesis of the Hebrew Bible , have led to many versions of stories that we thought we knew, especially the book of Genesis and the first fall story . Hebrew words such as adam, and other significant words in Hebrew language will be the main focus on in this paper. These words can have very different meanings according to the exegetes and also of a person's belief system that is translating them. Thorough critical analysis of postexilic writings will cast doubt into believers of their faith that indeed, what they have been taught about the stories of the Bible are just one interpretation....   [tags: Religion]

Free Essays
1543 words (4.4 pages)

Accuracy in Epic of Gilgamesh and The Hebrew Bible Essay

- There is much debate over the historical accuracy of the Hebrew Bible and The Epic of Gilgamesh. Some claim that to understand a work of literature requires extensive knowledge of the background of this work. The contrary position is that a work of literature can be interpreted solely on it’s content. The meaning of the term classical literature is that it can be applied during any period of time, it is eternal. Yet the conditions surrounding the author might still be of interest to the reader, and of importance to the work....   [tags: Epic Gilgamesh essays]

Term Papers
1389 words (4 pages)

Essay on Neurotheology: Which came first, God or the brain?

- Neurotheology: Which came first, God or the brain. ìIt feels like a loss of boundaryÖItís as if the film of your life broke and you were seeing the light that allowed the film to be projectedÖî: Michael Baime describes the sensations he experiences during Zen meditation. Michael is a subject of the brain imaging study performed by scientists Newburg and DíAquili to track neural activity during Zen meditation. Newburg and DíAquili wanted to find out which brain sections were most active during the meditative states achieved by Michael and his fellow subjects....   [tags: Chemistry Neurotheology Papers]

Free Essays
1744 words (5 pages)

Prophecy and Fulfillment Essay

- Prophecy and Fulfillment The archetype, prophecy and fulfillment, is demonstrated in Jean Stafford's "The Liberation" and in the life of Moses, as recorded in the Bible. This archetype involves the prediction of an occurrence, and then it occurring. Polly, of "The Liberation", and Moses have many similar experiences when they must confront their family and deliver important news. Polly had the unfortunate task of telling her elderly aunt and uncle that she was getting married to a man in Boston....   [tags: Bible, Informative, Social Issues]

Free Essays
327 words (0.9 pages)

Prophecy and the Psyche Essay examples

- Prophecy and the Psyche "He who could foresee affairs three days in advance would be rich for thousands of years." Chinese proverb. "When the fork is supported by two pillars, with six half-horns and six open scissors: The very potent Lord, heir to the toads, Will then subjugate to himself the entire world." There has been no shortage of effort on the part of men to predict the future. One man who is popularly credited with foretelling many things is Nostradamus, the sixteenth-century French astrologer and physician....   [tags: Papers]

Term Papers
2756 words (7.9 pages)