By James L. Kugel

ISBN-10: 1439130094

ISBN-13: 9781439130094

ISBN-10: 1439130108

ISBN-13: 9781439130100

ISBN-10: 1452650489

ISBN-13: 9781452650487

TEN YEARS in the past, Harvard professor James Kugel was once clinically determined with an competitive, most likely deadly, type of melanoma. “I was once, in fact, disturbed and anxious. however the major swap in my mind set was once that the history track had unexpectedly stopped—the track of lifestyle that’s continually going, the tune of limitless time and chances. Now without warning it was once long past, changed through nothing, just silence. There you're, one little individual, sitting within the overdue summer time solar, with just a couple of issues left to do.”

Despite his disease, Kugel was once intrigued by means of this new mind set and particularly the uncanny feeling of human smallness that got here with it. There anything overwhelmingly true about it—and its starkness reminded him of yes topics and motifs he had encountered in his years of learning historic religions. “This, I be mindful considering, was once whatever I should still fairly investigate further—if ever I bought the chance.”

In the Valley of the Shadow is the results of that seek. during this wide-ranging exploration of alternative facets of religion—interspersed together with his own reflections at the process his personal illness—Kugel seeks to discover what he calls “the place to begin of non secular consciousness,” an historical “sense of self” and a fashion of becoming into the realm that's rather at odds with the standard one. He tracks those down in money owed written in the past of human conferences with gods and angels, anthropologists’ descriptions of the lives of hunter-gatherers, the function of witchcraft in African societies, first-person narratives of non secular conversions, in addition to the experimental information assembled through modern neuroscientists and evolutionary biologists.

Though this diverse feel of the way we healthy into the area has principally disappeared from our personal societies, it could actually nonetheless come again to us as a fleeting mind set, “when you're simply sitting on a few park bench someplace; or at a marriage, whereas each person else is dancing and leaping round; otherwise sooner or later status on your yard, because the solar streams down during the timber . . . ” skilled in its fullness, this various manner of seeing opens onto a stark, new panorama mostly hidden from human eyes.

Kugel’s examine the total phenomenon of spiritual ideals is a conscientiously sincere, occasionally skeptical, yet eventually deeply relocating confirmation of religion in God. one among our generation’s major biblical students has created a strong meditation on humanity’s position on the earth and all that issues such a lot in our lives. Believers and doubters alike can be struck by way of its blend of goal scholarship and poetic perception, which makes for a unmarried, superbly crafted attention of life’s maximum mystery.

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In the Valley of the Shadow: On the Foundations of Religious Belief by James L. Kugel

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