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Life After Death [Mass Market Paperback]

Tom Harpur
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Nov. 23 1996
Is there life after death?

This question has puzzled humankind from time immemorial. For thousands of years religions the world over have taught that life does not end at death. Ancient Egyptians used to bury boats with their dead for transport to a new life. Medieval Christendom was rife with graphic, “eye-witness” descriptions of heaven and hell. In the West today, many people claim to have seen or heard from the dead; others have “remembered” past lives while under hypnosis. Still other have experienced “death” and have returned with remarkably similar stories to tell. Yet sceptics, agnostics, and atheists have challenged or rejected the notion of an afterlife, arguing that there is no proof of it whatsoever. Who is right?

In Life After Death, Tom Harpur, religious scholar, journalist, and best-selling author, takes a fresh and wide-ranging look at the question. He searches with an open mind, not for proof, but for evidence, within science, psychology, the Bible, the tenets of world religions, and the extraordinary experiences of ordinary people. And the evidence he meticulously assembles points unfalteringly towards one, logical conclusion: “Death is very much like birth. It is the traumatic but essential passage into a new phase of life.”

Life After Death is an extensively researched and eloquently reasoned investigation, which radiates the author’s intelligence and scholarship. Harpur’s powerful conclusions will challenge believers and sceptics alike. One thing is certain – his message will inspire all readers to reassess the meaning of life.


From the Hardcover edition.

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Review

“This book helps us to take the spiritual pulse of the times.…I admire the clear-headed honesty that seldom seems to desert Harpur.”
– Montreal Gazette

“A well-written and thought-provoking book, intensely interesting and, in places, challenging.”
Anglican Journal

“Stimulating and readable.…A judicious and many-sided account of a subject of unending concern. It should find many readers.”
Canadian Jewish News

“Harpur is as lucid a guide to the hereafter as we are going to get in the here and now.”
Globe and Mail


From the Hardcover edition.

About the Author

A former Rhodes scholar and professor of New Testament studies at Wycliffe College, Toronto, Tom Harpur is also an Anglican priest. He resigned from parish work in 1979 to write full-time in the mass media, in the process extending his “parish” to the whole of Canada. His work in newspapers, television, and his books, notably For Christ’s Sake and Life After Death, have consolidated his reputation as one of Canada’s pre-eminent religious voices and as a sound spiritual guide for modern times.

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Most helpful customer reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Credible, lucid, fascinating July 13 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Harpur, a faith and values columnist for the Toronto Star, tackles one of those subjects with no definitive answer and does so with clarity and thoroughness. An Anglican minister and former professor of Greek and New Testament, he examines everything from near-death experiences and reincarnation to the Bible and what other faiths have to say on the subject of life after death. On top of that, he spends an entire chapter on what was then (1991) the latest from the world of science. In the end, Harpur concludes "to trust there there is a life after death is to trust God. It is to trust that the ultimate energy at the foundations of the universe is love." If you've read the book that far, you'll likely agree. Just note, however, this most definitely is NOT a book meant for fundamentalists of any faith. But it is very, very readable and informative.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating and convincing book May 24 1999
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Tom Harpur is very convincing in his case for the possibility a hereafter. With great insight and evidence, he succeeds in clarifying much of what is misunderstood about Christ, the Bible and the apostles. This is the best book I have read on this subject. Harpur's evidence is both scientific and philosophical. The lucid Mr. Harpur has done more to convince me than anyone else.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Old books aren't necessarily out of date Oct. 20 2013
By Karl - Tiny Thought Guy TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Mass Market Paperback
While this book was printed in the mid 90’s, I believe that most of the information it contains is still relevant today – especially if we look at the fact that people are still following the ideas that were written/shared in their religions hundreds and even thousands of years ago.

This Canadian author, priest, Rhodes scholar and columnist does a good job of presenting a remarkably unbiased viewpoint about the universal topic of life after death. Tom Harpur provides summaries of how most of the world’s major religions feel about life after death, he provides accounts of those who have had near death experiences and he discusses various scientifically based arguments for and against. Overall, the author does a fine job of shedding light on a topic that has interested man from the beginning of time.

As a side note, I would think that folks who have devout religious faith in a specific religion might not enjoy this book as much as somebody who does not have a fundamentalist point of view.
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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Credible, lucid, fascinating July 13 2002
By Francis King - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Harpur, a faith and values columnist for the Toronto Star, tackles one of those subjects with no definitive answer and does so with clarity and thoroughness. An Anglican minister and former professor of Greek and New Testament, he examines everything from near-death experiences and reincarnation to the Bible and what other faiths have to say on the subject of life after death. On top of that, he spends an entire chapter on what was then (1991) the latest from the world of science. In the end, Harpur concludes "to trust there there is a life after death is to trust God. It is to trust that the ultimate energy at the foundations of the universe is love." If you've read the book that far, you'll likely agree. Just note, however, this most definitely is NOT a book meant for fundamentalists of any faith. But it is very, very readable and informative.
31 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating and convincing book May 24 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Tom Harpur is very convincing in his case for the possibility a hereafter. With great insight and evidence, he succeeds in clarifying much of what is misunderstood about Christ, the Bible and the apostles. This is the best book I have read on this subject. Harpur's evidence is both scientific and philosophical. The lucid Mr. Harpur has done more to convince me than anyone else.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE BOOK THE TV SERIES WAS BASED ON April 22 2013
By Steven H. Propp - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Thomas William Harpur (born 1929) is a Canadian author, broadcaster, columnist and theologian; although he is a former ordained Anglican priest, he is also a proponent of the "Christ myth" theory [e.g., The Pagan Christ: Recovering the Lost Light], and the author of books such as For Christ's Sake, Finding the Still Point: A Spiritual Response to Stress, etc. This book was also released [VHS only, to date] as a TV series, Life After Death Boxed Set [VHS].

He wrote in the Introduction to this 1991 book, "I am fully convinced that there is considerable evidence to be taken into account when trying to answer the question, Is there a God or not? But... there can be no proof of God's existence in the normal, scientific use of the word 'proof.' ... the best one can do is to gather all the available evidence, weigh it judiciously, and then make a decision based on a reasonable conclusion about where the evidence leads. I propose to follow the same principle here." (Pg. 18-19) The book begins with a discussion of NDEs, channelers, reincarnation, etc.; then he considers Christianity, and finally other world faiths.

He admits early on, "Although I was raised in an intensely religious home and have not just studied but have experienced the spiritual dimension of reality all my life, I have never had what I would label a paranormal experience." (Pg. 26)

Discussing Near-Death Experiences, he points out, "Leading figures in NDE research admit they don't know why some have the experience and others do not... However, given the wide use of memory suppressants in most serious operations, I find it noteworthy, not that many who experience clinical death during surgery don't have an NDE, but that so many appear to remember so clearly that they did." (Pg. 49-50)

He observes, "When I began my study of the historical Jesus ... I had no idea the argument and evidence would lead me where it did. Those who knew my Low Church, evangelical upbringing were greatly surprised at my conclusions... I have adopted the same approach in tackling the question of death and I have no doubt that some of my conclusions will not sit well with orthodox believers in many camps." (Pg. 312)

Those wanting a popular, "journalistic" approach to studying life after death will appreciate this book.
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