- Paperback: 400 pages
- Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (April 1, 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0199916853
- ISBN-13: 978-0199916856
- Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 0.9 x 6.1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #181,190 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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When Souls Had Wings: Pre-Mortal Existence in Western Thought 1st Edition
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"Givens could make a reader stop and think twice about a joke on a LaffyTaffy wrapper. Imagine what he could do with a concept as deep, rich, and personal as the preexistence of the soul...For a greater appreciation for (and understanding of) the idea of preexistence, this unique book is a must-read." --Association for Mormon Letters
About the Author
Terryl L. Givens is Professor of Literature and Religion and holds the Jabez A. Bostwick Chair of English at the University of Richmond. Some of his books include Viper on the Hearth: Mormons, Myths, and the Construction of Heresy (Oxford, 1997), By the Hand of Mormon: The American Scripture that Launched a New World Religion (Oxford 2002), which the New York Times called "provocative reading," People of Paradox: A History of Mormon Culture, which was named Best Book of the Year by the Mormon History Association for 2007, and most recently, The Book of Mormon: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford 2009).
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Top Customer Reviews
Givens has a very impressive resume and is professor of Literature and Religion at the University of Richmond. He has done an extensive study of the subject of pre-mortal existence and the results are condensed into this book. Here he covers religion, philosophy, and poetry that cover this subject.
The book covers from Mesopotamian times to modern times. Highlights include Hebrew traditions, Plato, Gnosticism, Origen, Augustine, the Kabbalah, and the Cambridge Platonists. Philosophers that tackled this subject include Descartes, Leibniz, and Kant. In 19th century religion major players were Wilhelm Benecke, Joseph Smith, Edward Beecher and Julius Muller. Poets that covered the subject include Blake, Coleridge, Wordsworth, Shelley, Byron, Lermontov, Carlyle, and Goethe.
His final chapter is more philosophical and discusses the views of Jung and others and how the idea pre-existence can solve many philosophical and religious problems. He notes that this paradigm never succumbed to philosophical or scientific critique. It has great explanatory power, but did not fit in with the western idea of creation out of nothing and that fact that God is the only eternal being.
This book is a must for anyone interested in the idea of a pre-existence. Givens explores the religious, poetic, and philosophical implications of this belief and for someone like myself who loves theology and philosophy was a wonderful exercise in thought.