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Record Type: Review   ID: 379

Memories and Visions of Paradise: Exploring the Universal Myth of a Lost Golden Age

Heinberg, Richard

This work is an outgrowth of a 10-year period of cross-cultural research into Paradise Myths made by the author. Inspired by Velikovsky's historical approach, Heinberg set out to discover whether or not there was some historical truth at the base of the myth of a lost paradise. He writes: "Having surveyed the relevant mythological literature, as well as the related findings of anthropology and archaeology, I feel compelled toward the view that our cultural memories of a Golden Age of harmony are the residue of a once-universal understanding of the spiritual dimension of human consciousness, and are at the same time memories of how contact with that dimension has been almost completely severed. And I cannot but note the fortuity of the fact that the comparative study of mythology has come of age, and is leading us back toward the sacred worldview, just as our modern industrial society approaches what can only be called a spiritual crisis" (p. xxviii).

The book is in four parts. The first consists of 5 chapters that survey the mythic view of Creation, Paradise, and Fall. The second part explores the vision of Paradise as it has reemerged in historical human cultures. Part 3 investigates attempts to discover the meaning of the image of paradise. The last part "presents some speculative implications that naturally arise from our approach to the Paradise myth . . . . there is reason to think that if we are willing to confront and change many of our present assumptions and values and much of our social conditioning, the miraculous world of Paradise may actually be attainable, both for ourselves individually and for humankind as a whole" (p. xxxi). Chapter 11 is on the near-death experience, the nature of which Heinberg discusses.

Publisher Information:Los Angeles: Jeremy P. Tarcher, 1989. 283p. Chap bibl: 257-270; 48 illus; Ind: 271-282
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