How does the mind experience the sacred? What biological mechanisms are involved in mystical states and trances? Is there a neurological basis for patterns in comparative religions? Does religion have an evolutionary function?

This pioneering work by Andrew and Eugene d’Aquili explores the neurophysiology of religious experience. Mapping the basic functions of the brain, the authors focus on structures most relevant to human experience, emotion, and cognition. On this basis, they plot how the brain is involved in mystical experiences. Successive chapters employ this understanding to explore myth-making, ritual and liturgy, meditation, near-death experiences, and theology itself. Original, daring, and widely acclaimed, the authors’ research bears exciting implications for philosophy, science, theology, and the future of religion itself.