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The Divine Life of Animals

One Man's Quest to Discover Whether the Souls of Animals Live On

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Paperback published by Broadway Books (Crown Publishing Group)

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About This Book
A journey through 20,000 years of history and myth in search of the answer to a single question: Do animals have souls?
 
Anyone who has ever mourned the loss of a cherished pet has wondered about the animal soul. Do animals survive the death of the body, or are they doomed to disappear completely when they leave this world behind? Both scientists and religious authorities have long scoffed at the idea of animals in heaven. Yet the question endures. In this wise, immensely readable book, Ptolemy Tompkins embarks on a quest for the answer—taking us on a top-speed tour of the history of the animal soul.
 
Equally at home with mainstream and alternative spiritual philosophies, Tompkins takes us from the savannas of Africa to the earth’s first cities to the early days of the great faith traditions of both East and West. Along the way, he shows that, despite what many of us have been taught, the world’s various spiritual traditions all have profoundly meaningful things to say about the animal soul, if we simply know where to look. Rescuing these ancient insights and blending them with vivid stories about animals today—from a dwarf rabbit named Angus to a manatee named Moose to a black bear named Little Bit—The Divine Life of Animals paints a gloriously inclusive picture of the cosmos as a place made up of both matter and spirit, in which animals are every bit as important, spiritually speaking, as the humans with whom they share the world. Though it is startlingly original, The Divine Life of Animals also feels strangely and instantly familiar, for it reveals truths that many of us have held in our hearts already, waiting only for someone to give fresh voice to one of the oldest and most trustworthy intuitions we possess.
 
The Divine Life of Animals offers a compelling and timeless vision of the relationship between humans and animals that will have you looking at the animals in your life with new eyes.


From the Hardcover edition.
Show less
A journey through 20,000 years of history and myth in search of the answer to a single question: Do animals have souls?
 
Anyone who has ever mourned the loss of a cherished pet has wondered about the animal soul. Do animals survive the death of the body, or are they doomed to disappear completely when they leave this world behind? Both scientists and religious authorities have long scoffed at the idea of animals in heaven. Yet the question endures. In this wise, immensely readable book, Ptolemy Tompkins embarks on a quest for the answer—taking us on a top-speed tour of the history of the animal soul.
 
Equally at home with mainstream and alternative spiritual philosophies, Tompkins takes us from the savannas of Africa to the earth’s first cities to the early days of the great faith traditions of both East and West. Along the way, he shows that, despite what many of us have been taught, the world’s various spiritual traditions all have profoundly meaningful things to say about the animal soul, if we simply know where to look. Rescuing these ancient insights and blending them with vivid stories about animals today—from a dwarf rabbit named Angus to a manatee named Moose to a black bear named Little Bit—The Divine Life of Animals paints a gloriously inclusive picture of the cosmos as a place made up of both matter and spirit, in which animals are every bit as important, spiritually speaking, as the humans with whom they share the world. Though it is startlingly original, The Divine Life of Animals also feels strangely and instantly familiar, for it reveals truths that many of us have held in our hearts already, waiting only for someone to give fresh voice to one of the oldest and most trustworthy intuitions we possess.
 
The Divine Life of Animals offers a compelling and timeless vision of the relationship between humans and animals that will have you looking at the animals in your life with new eyes.


From the Hardcover edition.
Product Details
Paperback (256 pages)
Published: June 7, 2011
Publisher: Crown Publishing Group
Imprint: Broadway Books
ISBN: 9780307451330
Other books byPtolemy Tompkins
  • The Modern Book of the Dead

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    What happens to us after we die? It remains perhaps the single most important question we can ask, one that still inspires thousands to turn to the Tibetan and Egyptian Books of the Dead for hope and comfort. But we can no longer rely solely on ancient wisdom for truly useful answers about our own mortality. We must find explanations for the afterlife in the fruits of modern experience. Critically acclaimed author Ptolemy Tompkins grew up in a family where questions about the shape and fate of the human soul were discussed on a daily basis, but it was only after his father’s passing that he began to consider death in a genuinely concrete way. In this boldly unconventional book—part memoir, part history of ideas, part road map to what might truly await us—Tompkins approaches the question of the afterlife with refreshing intimacy. Weaving together philosophy, science, stories of near-death experiences, and theology, he offers readers a new perspective on death and comes to an amazing and uplifting conclusion: that, somehow, human consciousness lives on.

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