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Religions 2017, 8(10), 222; doi:10.3390/rel8100222

Reincarnation in America: A Brief Historical Overview

Religious Studies Department, College of Charleston, 66 George Street, Charleston, SC 29424, USA
Received: 14 September 2017 / Revised: 1 October 2017 / Accepted: 3 October 2017 / Published: 11 October 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Perspectives on Reincarnation: Hindu, Christian, and Scientific)
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American theories of reincarnation have a long and complex history, dating from 1680s to the present. It is the purpose of this paper to highlight the main currents of reincarnation theory in the American context, giving a brief historical survey. Sources surveyed begin with Native American traditions, and then move to immigrant traditions based in Western Esotericism, Christianity, Judaism, missionary Hinduism and Buddhism, Spiritualism, Theosophy, Rosicrucianism, and concludes with more current theoretical influences, based in paranormal science research. The paper demonstrates that current theories of reincarnation are increasingly less dependent upon religious support and increasingly based in direct personal experience, paranormal research, and new therapeutic models. The paper concludes with some reflections on the complexity of reincarnation theory and raises questions concerning the future development of such theory. View Full-Text
Keywords: reincarnation; rebirth; past life memories; paranormal; out-of-body experience (OBE); near-death (NDE); retrocognition; survival of death; super-psi; regression therapy reincarnation; rebirth; past life memories; paranormal; out-of-body experience (OBE); near-death (NDE); retrocognition; survival of death; super-psi; regression therapy
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Irwin, L. Reincarnation in America: A Brief Historical Overview. Religions 2017, 8, 222.

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