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The Ecstatic Imagination

3.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0791436059
ISBN-10: 0791436055
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Editorial Reviews


"The study of mysticism in the twentieth century has moved back and forth from those who posit a basic unity to the mystical experience to those who emphasize diversity. Those who favor the latter position have been somewhat in ascendance since the work of Steven Katz. But valuable as it is as a critique, Katz's position of seemingly irreducible diversity really does not have much positive to give us in understanding what the mystical experience may have to offer. Dan Merkur's typology is a real step forward in that he suggests that there may be a coherent overall pattern to heightened or altered states of consciousness. I am not saying that Merkur's work is 'the last word' on the subject. Au contraire, it is the first word in what should prove to be a very fruitful line of inquiry."-- James Burnell Robinson, University of Northern Iowa
"The book is well organized, clearly written, well researched, on a topic that is significant and interesting. The author reveals considerable insight into the subject matter." -- Steven Katz, State Technical Institute at Memphis

About the Author

Dan Merkur is Research Reader in the Centre for the Study of Religion at the University of Toronto. He is also the author of Gnosis: An Esoteric Tradition of Mystical Visions and Unions, also published by SUNY Press; Becoming Half Hidden: Shamanism and Initiation Among the Inuit; and Powers Which We Do Not Know: The Gods and Spirits of the Inuit.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 226 pages
  • Publisher: State University of New York Press (January 29, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0791436055
  • ISBN-13: 978-0791436059
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 0.7 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,556,027 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By N. Goldsmith on November 9, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I thought this book was extraordinarily insightful; a rare and well-written addition to the psychedelic and psychoanalysis literature. I particularly enjoyed his discussion of the developmental psychology of spiritual adepts. A scholarly gem.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Let me start by saying that I believe that psychedelics can aid in the expansion of consciousness when used correctly. Let me also admit that I did not, could not finish this book. It was written in as dry a language as I have encountered (and considering I am an engineer who has to read extremely dry technical manuals, this is not an observation to be taken lightly).
I dont know if Mr. Merkur is unable to write well or, as I suspect, he feels that by assuming this dry removed tone his work will seem more scienitic and objective. In either case, his presentation falls short. He makes some good points, if only one can stay awake long enough to read them. It seems ironic that anything written like this should feature the words "ecstatic" and "imagination" on the cover.
-Thomas Seay
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