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Somewhere Over the Rainbow? Cosmogony and Mystical Decreation

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image of Method & Theory in the Study of Religion

Religious answers to the question of how the world has come into being fall roughly into two categories: mythical narratives and doctrinal formulations based on cosmogonical mythology. In explaining how the world has come into being, such myths and doctrines also tell us something about the conditions before the world was created. David Herbst's "co-genetic" logic is used to explain why we are prone to think that if the world is a spatio-temporal entity, there has to be a "not-world" before and beyond it. Within Christianity and Buddhism, for example, the so-called introvertive mystical experience is believed to liberate mystics from what is created or what has come into being and thus to lead them to some kind of "not-world". Various representations of "not-world", like 'God' and 'nirv' na', are here interpreted as conceptual postulates necessitated by "co-genetic logic". It is argued that certain aspects of cosmogony and mysticism can be best explained as following directly from the nature of human cognition.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Comparative Religion University of Helsinki

10.1163/157006898X00033
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1998-01-01
2017-04-30

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