WILFRED CANTWELL SMITH Thoughts on Transcendence* My topic is Transcendence, as announced. My thesis is that there have been throughout history and across the world a general human aware- ness of transcendence; and a general human propensity to perceive it, and to express and to nurture the awareness of it, in and through specific forms. One such form has been, for example, the concept of immortality. There have been and continue to be many more. Before I turn to some of the others, and to the larger matter, a brief comment on the concept "life after death" in particular, which has been, and for many is today, a matter of enormous seriousness. I recognize this, and respect it. I recog- nize also that it can be taken, has been taken, either as a metaphor, or literally. Let me state at the outsed that I personally do not believe in it literally. Also, I do not myself use it metaphorically. Probably I should at once add that I am not at all afraid of dying, which I shall be doing one of these days - as will all of you, just as surely although perhaps not so soon as
Zeitschrift für Religions- und Geistesgeschichte – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 1990
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