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Liturgical Press

Visions and Healing in the Acts of the Apostles

How the Early Believers Experienced God

John J. Pilch

Visions and Healing in the Acts of the Apostles
Visions and Healing in the Acts of the Apostles

ISBN: 9780814627976, 2797

Details: 200 pgs, 5 3/8 x 8 1/4 x 7/16
Publication Date: 08/01/2004
Paperback
$14.95
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Trances, visions, healing miracles: permeating the biblical records are these altered states of consciousness, through which some early Christians experienced God. Today's rituals and liturgies are related to those experiences, which have become significant elements in the Christian tradition and mysticism. Pilch uses cultural anthropology, cognitive neuroscience, and medical anthropology to interpret these past events, and to explore the contemporary liturgical potential of this new understanding. Backed with solid, scientific insights, this interdisciplinary book will help the reader gain appreciation of our ancestors’ faith and the power of Scripture and liturgy.

Chapters are: Introduction, Chapter One: "Acts 1-2: The Journey Begins: Communal Religious Trance Experiences (ASCs)," Chapter Two: “Acts 3-5: Temple Tours: God Acts in the Temple and a Private Home,” Chapter Three: “Acts 6-12: Excursions Outside Jerusalem: Encountering God Away From the Temple,” Chapter Four: “Acts 13:1-21:36: Journeys into Non-Israelite Territory Inspired By Altered States of Consciousness Experiences,” Chapter Five: “Acts 21:37-28:15: Paul the Prisoner’s Progress Illuminated and Aided By Altered States of Consciousness Experiences,” and “Acts 28:16-31 Re-orientation—The Journey Concludes.” Also includes Introduction, Conclusion, Resource Bibliography, Appendix One: “Outline of Acts,” Appendix Two: “Rite and Trance,” and Appendix Three: “A Ceremonial Rite for Experiencing the Realm of God in Altered States of Consciousness.”

John J. Pilch, a highly-regarded biblical scholar and author, taught at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland and passed away in 2016. Among his numerous publications are The Cultural World of Jesus, The Cultural World of the Apostles, and The Cultural World of the Prophets series published by Liturgical Press.

ISBN: 9780814627976, 2797

Details: 200 pgs, 5 3/8 x 8 1/4 x 7/16
Publication Date: 08/01/2004

Reviews

If you want to get caught up in the scientific world, read this book. . .exposure to this thinking is the payoff.
Tidings

Bravo, John Pilch! Drawing upon his considerable skill as a Biblical scholar as well as several years' experience in the method we call `ecstatic trance,' Pilch writes with authority on trance and visions in the early Christian church. He recognizes that these `journeys into the realm of God' require interpretation and guides us through an understanding of the nature of the trance state and the cultural worldview of the Mediterranean Christians we know as the apostles. His work is a valuable contribution toward restoring an appreciation for our common ability to experience these visionary states of consciousness.
Belinda Gore, Psychologist and President, The Cuyamungue Institute

Offering insights that resonate within the realm of understanding regardless of whether one believes the Apostles' visions to be literally factual or subject to interpretation, Visions and Healing in the Acts of the Apostles is a welcome addition to religious studies shelves.
The Midwest Book Review, Reviewer's Bookwatch

Visions and Healing in the Acts of the Apostles is a clear and cogent examination of how first-century readers and hearers likely interpreted religious ecstatic trance experiences and healing events as reported by Luke. Pilch's application of cultural anthropology, cognitive neuroscience, and medical anthropology to these events is enhanced by sets of reflection questions that invite students to a deeper understanding of the ancient world and of their own experience of God in the everyday phenomenon of trance. This book, suitable not only for the university classroom but also for adult Christian formation in a parish or diocesan setting, is a resource that will enhance literary and theological treatments of Acts.
Joan C. Campbell, CSM, Toronto, Ontario

Whether the reader holds that Acts is literal, fact with interpretation or a composition of stories, this book connects literary and theological perspective to the stories and trances and explores the cultural traditions that surround the altered states of consciousness.
Catholic Books review, Catholic Studies

Whether the reader holds that Acts is literal, fact with interpretation or a composition of stories, this book connects literary and theological perspective to the stories and trances and explores the cultural traditions that surround the altered states of consciousness.
CRUX of the News

Once again, P. has opened fresh windows into biblical culture. . . . both professional and popular readers should be spurred by this succinct volume to explore further the multiple dimensions of ASC in the biblical world-and our own.
The Catholic Biblical Quarterly

Pilch has successfully demonstrated that visions and trances, far from being unusual and peripheral, are vital and central to the experience of God throughout the book of Acts. Drawing on contemporary, cross-cultural research into alternative states of consciousness (ASC), Pilch has opened up a whole new way of ‘seeing' Acts, with profound implications for personal spirituality, pastoral ministry, and the mission of the church. In our increasingly visual society, this book charts fresh paths through familiar biblical terrain for envisioning God anew today.
Fr. Scott Spencer, Professor of New Testament, Baptist Theological Seminary, Richmond, Virginia