SuttaCentral

Rebirth and the Stream of Life - New Book discussion


#1

This is to discuss / inform about a recent publication which may be of interest. It is an academic work in philosophy of religion called Rebirth and the Stream of Life (Burley, M.). It seems to be quite an interesting discussion of rebirth, as it appears in Buddhist, Hindu and also other cultures (Native Americans etc), and the philosophical issues surrounding the topic. I came about it while listening to a podcast I like which had a long form interview with the author:

Here’s the book blurb from the publisher:

Rebirth and the Stream of Life explores the diversity as well as the ethical and religious significance of rebirth beliefs, focusing especially on Hindu and Buddhist traditions but also discussing indigenous religions and ancient Greek thought. Utilizing resources from religious studies, anthropology and theology, an expanded conception of philosophy of religion is exemplified, which takes seriously lived experience rather than treating religious beliefs in isolation from their place in believers’ lives. Drawing upon his expertise in interdisciplinary working and Wittgenstein-influenced approaches, Mikel Burley examines several interrelated phenomena, including purported past-life memories, the relationship between metaphysics and ethics, efforts to ‘demythologize’ rebirth, and moral critiques of the doctrine of karma. This range of topics, with rebirth as a unifying theme, makes the book of value to anyone interested in philosophy, the study of religions, and what it means to believe that we undergo multiple lives.

https://www.bloomsbury.com/uk/rebirth-and-the-stream-of-life-9781628922271/

And here’s a paper the author wrote on the topic back in 2014:

http://enlight.lib.ntu.edu.tw/FULLTEXT/JR-PHIL/phil542160.pdf

Anyways, its good to see academic philosophy of religion dealing with issues that aren’t just based on Judeo-Christian Theism (the field is mostly dominated by these discussions it seems but the author of said book is part of those who seek to expand the field into other topics).