It has been 13 years since Raymond Moody’s Life After Life gave our rationalistic culture “proof” that there was something beyond the grave—a warm, friendly light that welcomed astral travelers into the rest of an afterlife.

The impact of Moody’s first-person accounts of near-death experiences (NDES) was both sensational (they made great tabloid copy!) and surprising (one CT staffer tells the story of a funeral where an evangelical pastor referred to NDES as a source of comfort for the grieving).

Discussion over just how serious Christians are to take these phenomena is likely to be renewed with the publication of Moody’s new book, The Light Beyond, and the further debate over Carol Zaleski’s Otherworld Journeys, a book that critically studies the effects of culture on the makeup of NDES through the centuries.

Over hot coffee and muffins (much appreciated on a chilly March day in Massachusetts), Zaleski met with associate editor Rodney Clapp on the Harvard University campus to discuss her work: a’lark” that eventually became, according to Theology Today, the “most thorough, thoughtful, and well-balanced study” on the subject.

“Dr. Zaleski is careful not to exaggerate the importance of NDES,” Rodney told us. “But she’s certain that they represent a significant—perhaps sacred—something that’s not easily explained.”

Rodney’s report begins on page 16.

HAROLD B. SMITH, Managing Editor

Cover illustration by Tim Jonke.

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