Looking back, I probably should have spaced these posts out over a few days to prevent you all from developing “information overload” syndrome.  But this last post today is a good one (at least I think so).

It has come to my attention (via her blog Forbidden Gospels) that Rice University Professor of Biblical Studies, April DeConick, will be a part of an extended research seminar that will be studying how different religions/cultures have prepared themselves for the “afterlife journey” that they anticipate having to traverse at death, including religious teachings and practices.

From her blog:

The semester is a week advanced and this year I am facilitating a Mellon Seminar. The topic? Mapping Death: Religious Preparations for the Afterlife Journey. The Seminar consists of myself, five graduate students from various departments (Religious Studies, French Studies, and Anthropology) and a webmaster. We are in the process of developing a webpage for the Seminar, so if you are interested you can track our progress.

Each student has an individual research project to work on, and then we are collaborating in terms of method and theory, sharing our approaches with each other. It is an exciting seminar and I am so pleased to be part of it. My own individual research project involves mapping ancient Gnostic metaphysics and praxis.

Here is a short description of the seminar:

This is a collaborative research seminar consisting of fellows working on cross-culturally mapping death journeys and religious preparations for them in order to investigate the relationship between the anticipated afterlife journey and the group’s metaphysics and praxis. The fellows will be engaged in the creation and cultivation of a rich interdisciplinary approach to the comparative study of traditions, a ‘new’ history-of-traditions approach that is conscious of the historical contexture of traditions, their referentiality, confluence, communal generation and conveyance, responsiveness, changeability, accumulative nature, and variability in transmission. Members will be working on individual research projects related to the seminar’s mission and their dissertations. At the end of the year, they will present their final projects in a roundtable symposium that also will feature invited papers from three external scholars who will visit the seminar at various sessions during the Spring semester. The papers from the symposium will be edited for publication in a volume.

I will be keeping a close eye on this seminar to see what they up with and look forward to the subsequent publication. This is an important topic and the research done will be significant for anyone interested in Temple studies (and Heavenly Ascents!) — preparation for the “afterlife journey” is one of the main purposes of the Temple, both ancient and modern.

I have met April DeConick and some of her graduate students and I highly respect the work that they do there at Rice University. You can expect it to be very professional and methodologically sound.

Continue reading at the original source →