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Principles of Neurotheology (Ashgate Science and Religion Series) Paperback – September 1, 2010

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Editorial Reviews


In this new book, Andrew B. Newberg is advocating a whole new relationship between religion and science, he proposes not that the two stay neutral with regard to each other, but that they help each other in their quest. Augustine once defined theology as fides quaerens intellectum, faith seeking to understand. Newberg wants to establish a partnership between that quest and mens quaerens intellectum, the brain seeking to understand. Neurotheology would, of all things, introduce and require a sense of humility and awareness of need of help in both science and religion. The tone of this whole book is an excellent start in that direction. Ronald Murphy, S.J., Georgetown University, USA Drawing on decades of empirical research and engaging centuries-old questions from philosophy and theology, Newberg charts for us both the "state of the art" and a vision for the future of the emerging interdisciplinary field of neurotheology. Carefully acknowledging the complexity of the tasks at hand, Principles of Neurotheology courageously sketches the opportunity and promise of new answers to age-old questions as complex as the soul, God, and free will-a critical resource for researchers and readers engaged in work at the intersection of religion, theology, and science. David A. Hogue, Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, USA This fascinating book contains everything a person might want to know about the link between theology and the neurosciences, a rapidly growing area of scientific investigation. Written by one of the first researchers to examine brain activity during spiritual experiences, this volume lays the basic foundations for this new field of neurotheology. Clearly written and easily accessible, Principles of Neurotheology is filled with information that both scientist and layperson need to know about the neurological basis for religious and spiritual experiences, and should be required reading for anyone interested in the faith-health connection. Harold G. Koenig, Duke University, USA As neuroscientists present more and more evidence for the claim that religious experiences and beliefs are dramatically influenced by changes in brain activity, people interested in religion (and that should be all of us) clamor for an explanation of the implications of these neuroscientific findings for religion and brain. In Principles of Neurotheology Andrew B. Newberg gives us a set of tools and principles that can and should guide us when we consider implications of the latest neuroscience for religion and brain. This book is consistently thought-provoking, fertile, innovative, courageous, and brilliant. It is a work of maturity, of someone who has thought deeply about these issues and their life and death consequences for real people. Newberg's 'Principles' will stand as the founding document for the new discipline of neurotheology - a science that has come of age and is poised to revolutionize both neuroscience and theology. Patrick McNamara, Boston University School of Medicine, USA '... I do recommend [this book] to anyone with an interest in the relationship between science and religion.' Church Times '... a refreshing voice...' 'This book's thoroughly multidisciplinary nature makes it ideal for the liberal study of recent and potential findings in cognitive neuroscience... readers are left with a rich vocabulary and viable methodology through which to conduct an interdisciplinary discussion regarding some of life's most intriguing questions... Recommended.' Choice 'This is a fascinating and philosophically rigorous book, which raises many exciting ideas about what goes on in the human brain during religious and theological practices.' Theology 'Principles has much to recommend it. It provides the reader with a broad overview of cutting-edge brain research related to religious experience, and its principles - if the text is widely disseminated - are likely to provoke a good deal of discussion and debate.' Themelios 'Principles of Neurotheology is an important book, one that initiates a discussion of the theoretical and practical principles that should guide the development of this new field while also providing an overview of the current state of the research and sage insights from one who has been for a number of years deeply involved in neurotheological research.' Journal of the American Academy of Religion 'Searching for the ultimate is what makes us fundamentally human. Newberg, of course, has offered important principles to think about... ' American Theological Inquiry

About the Author

Andrew B. Newberg, Director of Research, Myrna Brind Center of Integrative Medicine. Professor, Department of Emergency Medicine and Radiology, Thomas Jefferson University, USA.

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Product Details

  • Series: Ashgate Science and Religion Series
  • Paperback: 284 pages
  • Publisher: Ashgate; New edition edition (September 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0754669947
  • ISBN-13: 978-0754669944
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #106,133 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Andrew B. Newberg, M.D. is currently the Director of Research at the Myrna Brind Center of Integrative Medicine at Thomas Jefferson University and Hospital in Philadelphia. He is also a Professor in the Departments of Emergency Medicine and Radiology at Thomas Jefferson University. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine in 1993. He did his training in Internal Medicine at the Graduate Hospital in Philadelphia, serving as Chief Resident in his final year. Following his internal medicine training, he completed a Fellowship in Nuclear Medicine in the Division of Nuclear Medicine, Department of Radiology, at the University of Pennsylvania. He is Board Certified in Internal Medicine and Nuclear Medicine.
He has actively pursued a number of neuroimaging research projects which have included the study of aging and dementia, epilepsy, and other neurological and psychiatric disorders. Dr. Newberg has been particularly involved in the study of mystical and religious experiences as well as the more general mind/body relationship in both the clinical and research aspects of his career. His research also includes understanding the physiological correlates of acupuncture therapy, meditation, and other types of alternative therapies. He has taught medical students, undergraduate and graduate students, as well as medical residents about stress management, spirituality and health, and the neurophysiology of religious experience. He has published numerous articles and chapters on brain function, brain imaging, and the study of religious and mystical experiences. He is the co-author of the new book entitled, "Words Can Change Your Brain" (Hudson Street Press). He is the co-author of the best selling books entitled, "How God Changes Your Brain" (Ballantine) and, "Why God Won't Go Away: Brain Science and the Biology of Belief" (Ballantine). He is also a co-author of "Born to Believe: God, Science, and the Origin of Ordinary and Extraordinary Beliefs" (Free Press). He is also the author of "Principles of Neurotheology" (Ashgate) and "The Mystical Mind: Probing the Biology of Belief" (Fortress Press) that both explore the relationship between neuroscience and spiritual experience. The latter book received the 2000 award for Outstanding Books in Theology and the Natural Sciences presented by the Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences. He has been involved in the teaching of the physiological basis of various alternative medicine techniques including the importance of spirituality in medical practice. He also teaches in the Department of Religious Studies at the School of Arts and Sciences, University of Pennsylvania. He has presented his work at scientific and religious meetings throughout the world and has appeared on Good Morning America, Nightline, CNN, ABC World News Tonight as well as in a number of media articles including Newsweek, Time, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and Readers Digest.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

57 of 57 people found the following review helpful By Armando Brons on September 1, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This valuable book is a primer, an extended essay, on what neurotheology should be and what principles might guide it. It is also the culmination of all the research and scholarship performed by Dr. Newberg in this field to date.
Ten years ago, when Dr. Newberg together with his mentor Dr. Eugene D'Aquili and Vincent Rause published "Why God Won't Go Away" (NY, Ballantine Books), a new era began for a more comprehensive and modern study of Spirituality, a subject that had been until then for all practical purposes, the monopoly of theologians.
On of the greatest qualities of this book is that it welcomes everybody: Religious and non-religious people, believers, non believers, agnostics and atheists! It is an invitation to work towards Oneness, whether it refers to the oneness that can be found in this Universe or in some other transcendent one or in none at all...
it is a broad ecumenical effort by Dr. Newberg inviting everyone to work towards a general peace that would come from forgiveness, compassion and love.

The too simplified Table of Contents of the book does not makes justice to all the riches that it contains. In order to organize my own study of this pioneering book, I expanded for my own use the original Table of Contents as per the texts, which I present here, to give a more comprehensive idea to interested readers, students and scholars of all that they can expect to find in it.
The book could benefit from some editing, so that the extraordinary cumulus of ideas it presents would be better organized. But that will certainly come in the foreseeable future.

I can only highly recommend this book to all people of good will who are struggling to find a true meaning in
their lives and deeds.
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31 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Jared M Terrore on January 7, 2011
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This book was eye opening, this is the first time I heard someone approach mysticism and religious experience from a scientific eager to learn what could be learned without some a priori agenda. This is an outline of a new area of research, with set principles outlining how research and study should be conducted. This could be one of the most exciting topics of the 21st century!
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23 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Jon Herzinger on February 25, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition
Dr. Newberg presents a well-researched and carefully considered framework for considering questions of the interrelationships between the brain and religion, or neurology and theology. I wouldn't say it's the book is without a priori assumptions. I would say it's without a priori theological assumptions. That absolutely all human experience involves the brain, however, seems to be an assumption for entering the conversation. A single highly functioning anencephalic individual (and there are at least two) would seem to require reconsidering many questions, or resolving not to be inconvenienced by fact. Still, a wonderful introduction to a new field.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By warren long on February 27, 2015
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As a retired neuro surgeon who practiced for 50 years and operated on the Limbic system in the 70's I think this book set s the stage for the new area that brings neuro Sci together with religion and philophy medicine an psychology to a practical discipline.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By robert wilson on January 17, 2014
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I have read much of Newburg's writings on Neurotheology. I have found him cognitive stimulating, informative and his research necessary for those interested in integrating the magisterial s of religion and the sciences.
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