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Heaven: Our Enduring Fascination with the Afterlife

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Our Enduring Fascination with the Afterlife

By Lisa Miller

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Format: Paperback / softback, 368 pages
Published In: United States, 15 April 2011
Many people say they believe in heaven, but very few of them are able to articulate anything specific about their belief, leaving only questions. Is heaven a real place? Is it a city or a garden or both? Can you keep your body there? If so, can you eat, drink, make love? Are you recognizable as yourself in heaven? Do your relationships continue there? Or is heaven something else? A radical idea? A disembodied, unconscious existence? A sense of progression toward perfect understanding, justice, beauty, truth? Jewish, Christian, and Muslim theologians and scholars have dissected these questions - and others like them - for thousands of years, yet in today's world, most people leave them pretty well alone, content to live with a shallow or incomplete sense of what they do believe. Lisa Miller dissects these ancient theologies and their different ideas regarding an afterlife by looking at what the beliefs are, how they have impacted one another, and also how they have reacted to the needs and lifestyles of their followers through the ages. By looking at profiles of real people and history, and analyzing conversations with scholars, "Heaven" forces people to grapple with their beliefs about heaven. It holds up a mirror to allow Americans to gauge how their ideas about heaven measure up to traditional and popular ideas throughout history in an accessible, palatable way.

About the Author

Lisa Miller is an award-winning journalist and an editor at Newsweek, where she writes regularly about religion, values, culture, and politics. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and daughter.


Miller (, religion editor for Newsweek, introduces an array of views on heaven held by both Western and Eastern faiths. Drawing on history, popular culture, and the beliefs of scholars, theologians, and laypeople alike, Miller deduces that the concept of heaven is a very personal one and that the desire for a celestial afterlife is universal. Actress Linda Emond's ( pleasant voice works well with the narrative and makes for easy listening. Recommended for general listeners who can appreciate a nonjudgmental overview of religion. ["Miller's potpourri of ancient tradition and modern opinions should prove interesting to any general reader who has ever wondered about the great beyond," read the review of the Harper hc, LJ 3/15/10.-Ed.]-Deb West, Gannon Univ. Lib., Erie, PA Copyright 2010 Reed Business Information.

"This fascinating, thoughtful, and challenging study tells us a great deal about what it means to be a human being." -- Karen Armstrong, New York Times bestselling author of A History of God and The Case for God "Lisa Miller has long been the fairest and most engaging journalist covering religion in America. In Heaven, she has accomplished the impossible: She has written a book about religion that fundamentalists, moderates, liberals, and nonbelievers alike can read with extreme pleasure." -- Sam Harris, New York Times bestselling author of The End of Faith and Letter to a Christian Nation "Delightful and insightful. . . . This marvelous work is a readable and wonderfully realized study of this `constant hope' that we share. . . . Whether we're informed by scripture or by popular culture, HEAVEN will delight and edify readers at every level." -- Publishers Weekly (starred review) "A rare combination of journalism, memoir, and historical research by a self-professed skeptic who nonetheless believes in hope, this smart yet heartfelt book leads us into the center of one of the greatest conversations of all time. And Lisa Miller is the perfect conversation partner." -- Stephen Prothero, New York Times bestselling author of American Jesus and Religious Literacy "Readers of HEAVEN will more likely than not find their own imaginations enriched, their experiences enhanced, their taste for exploration enlarged, and their impulse to reach out in empathy and hope quickened." -- Martin E. Marty, Fairfax M. Cone Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus, University of Chicago "Miller's whirlwind tour of heaven is an entertaining primer on a most complex subject." -- Booklist

EAN: 9780060554767
ISBN: 0060554762
Publisher: HarperPerennial
Dimensions: 13.46 x 2.03 x 20.32 centimetres (0.22 kg)
Age Range: 15+ years
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