Encyclopedia of Reincarnation and Karma by Norman C Mcclelland

Featuring over 1,200 topical entries arranged alphabetically, this encyclopedia provides diverse and detailed coverage of the related subjects of reincarnation and karma. Its in-depth examination ranges from ancient beliefs to those of the present, incorporating all relevant world cultures. A series of broad thematic entries cover foundational aspects while over a thousand highly focused entries deal with various societies and organizations which support the concepts of reincarnation and karma; specific religious groups, sects, and associations; key individuals both historic and modern; and related beliefs, concepts, and practices.
Author McClelland (Zen master and independent scholar) has compiled information on reincarnation and karma from “the very naïve, sometimes absurd and quite subjective to the very scholarly and objective.” Topics such as Cleopatra syndrome (which explains why people want to have been Cleopatra rather than some other powerful woman in history), Heaven’s Gate, Kabbalah, Monism, and Theosophy are covered if they touch, even tangentially, on reincarnation or karma. There are also entries on fraud and even some dry humor, as in the entry Going lilac, about people who are more interested in their past lives than their present. Still, McClelland is a believer, and he includes an entry about his own possible connection to William the Conqueror. Entries range from a few lines to several pages and do not have source citations, although there is a 15-page list of print sources consulted. There are several errors. For example, Christian writer Origen is referred to as Origin wherever cited. In the entry on Saddam Hussein (included because he considered himself to be the reincarnation of Nebuchadnezzar II), Hussein is spelled Hussien. This is a book that only larger public libraries or those with a deep New Age collection need consider. Academic libraries supporting popular religion courses might also consider it. –Kathleen Stipek


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