Going Beyond The Jesus Story:
An Examination Of Christian Belief, Mystical Experience And The Ongoing Development Of Conscious Awareness.
Who am I? Why am I? Where am I headed and where have I been?
The greatest derangement of the mind is to believe in something because one wishes it to be true.
These are just some of the questions that concern the author of Going Beyond the Jesus Story, a book that ranges freely across complex and intriguing subject areas such as the nature of religious belief, contemplative and meditative experience, lucid dreaming, the role of feeling in our appreciation of reality, the inherently spiritual nature of asking questions, and our need to go beyond not only the Jesus story as it has come down to us, but also the ingrained notion that self is an ongoing, uninterrupted experience of the conscious mind that can be taken for granted.
Directing our attention to the nature of attention itself, we are introduced, step by carefully constructed step, to the idea that consciousness is not what we have assumed it to be, or conscious awareness quite as conscious as we like to think it is. Delving into history, theology and philosophy in an attempt to reach an integrated understanding of the religious and secular problems we face as human beings, the author examines ideas that confront and challenge on just about every level, ideas that carry us towards an appreciation of what it means to presence the self to the self as an experience in its own right. At this point theory gives way to experiment, to methodology, to a knowing or seeing that makes this book a unique contribution to the study of human sentience and its evolved, and evolving structures.
GOING BEYOND THE JESUS STORY is an impressive and thought-provoking work. Drawing on a wealth of scholarly material, the book develops its arguments in a way that is both engaging and accessible. It not only connects contemporary religious and theological ideas with recent work in the philosophy of mind and consciousness, but also shows how much there is still to be gained from the mystical and contemplative traditions, as well as from other more esoteric sources. Lockhart’s conclusions connect with some of the most innovative current thinking about meaning, mind and self arguing for a view of human existence as neither wholly internalised nor wholly externalised, but as constituted in the ‘between’ of mind and world in a way that encompasses both.”
Jeff Malpas, Professor of Philosophy and ARC Professorial Fellow, University of Tasmania,
Distinguished Visiting Professor, LaTrobe University
In this remarkably clear and original study . . . Douglas Lockhart develops a persuasive case for rescuing Christianity’s “lost” religious heritage through a transformation of its form and a powerful re-evaluation of its fundamental categories.
[This] leads Lockhart to the creation of a revolutionary philosophical and anthropological outlook which has not yet been assimilated by academic philosophy of mind and religion.
Nuanced and convincingly supported, this work foregrounds a complex spectrum of impulses from contemporary consciousness studies to gnosis and mysticism.
Yet Lockhart’s patient elucidations are written in a wonderfully limpid style. They arguably rank at the same time among the chief monuments of contemporary humanism scholarship as they deploy a modern, unorthodox and highly thought provoking new take on faith, freedom, self-appropriation and the human soul.
Marcelo R. Stamm, PD Dr. phil. habil.
Senior Research Fellow, Director Creativity Research Project AIRC Australian Innovation Research Centre
Adjunct Professor, Munich University, LMU MÃ¼nchen Senior Research Fellow
This is an invitation to an exciting journey of exploration of one’s self and its very core . . . [Douglas Lockhart] invites you to examine Christianity . . . as an experience of awakening and self-understanding. At this time of rampant religious fundamentalisms, this journey is as refreshing as it is irresistible – even for religious skeptics and scientific rationalists.
Professor Jan Pakulski,
School of Sociology and Social Work, University of Tasmania, Australia.
Thank you very much for sending me a copy of “Going Beyond the Jesus Story” by Douglas Lockhart. I found it thought provoking. Please do give my congratulations to Douglas Lockhart. I am sure that Douglas realizes that the fundamentalists in any religion are not so easily moved by arguments or evidence. Still, one needs to do the right thing. I am glad he has written what he has.
Emeritus Professor of Comparative Religion & Physics, Dalhousie University, Halafax, Canada.
I’ve finally got round to reading [Douglas Lockhart’s] marvellous book. The body, sensation, and above all awareness of presence are, for me, the cornerstone of anything I might call “spirituality”, [and the] energy of present, conscious awareness comes crackling off the page.
Dr. Peter Batty, (Historian) University of Southampton
A welcome change from the current stream of anti-religious works a la Dawkins. Dump religion by all means, but don’t dump the experiences from which religion grew in the first place.
Kim McCaul, (Anthropologist) University of Adelaide, Australia.
Developing themes explored in his earlier books, Douglas Lockhart argues that instead of immersing ourselves in constrictive dogma we should be focusing our attention on spiritual awakening. True salvation . . . is to be found in the depths of our being. Highly recommended.
Dr. Nevill Drury
author of Stealing Fire from Heaven and Wisdom Seekers
Douglas Lockhart offers us a beautifully written, wide-ranging, and thoroughly absorbing exploration of the deeper reaches of contemplative thought and practice. Here you will find an inspired and inspiring guide to the nondoctrinal core of contemplative experience; of what it means fully to be present in the present.
Professor Warwick Fox
School of Philosophy, University of Central Lancashire, UK.