Zohios S. Obmiraniia and Near-Death Experiences: Convergences and Divergences in the Light of Folklore and Neuroscience

Stamatis Zochios
École Pratique des Hautes Études; University of Athens 
Paris, France; Athens, Greece 
ORCID: 0000-0002-1478-3793 
E-mail: stamzochios@gmail.com


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ABSTRACT. In the second half of the twentieth century, folklorists and anthropologists faced the issue of classification of obmiraniia. First, it was necessary to answer whether they form a folk genre, and then identify their place in the system of other folk literary genres (fairy tales, folk beliefs and legends, songs, etc.). At the same time, the genre was associated with the narratives of the near-death experience (NDE) that has attracted the attention of modern sciences, in particular neurosciences, which consider them as “profound subjective experiences with transcendental or mystical elements” (Greyson 2005). In such experiences, people report a sense of separation from the body and then narrate details they experienced during the period of separation, such as going through a tunnel, seeing a bright light, meeting people who have died, and so on. These details are called “features” or “stages” by a field of neuroscience called neurophenomenology that classifies them for further analysis. Moreover, all these features tend to be repeated in different narratives, as do motifs in oral literature, and in obmiraniia in particular. This article examines the formation and evolution of the different points of view and scientific approaches to the study of the traditional genre of obmiraniia, trying to answer whether it is possible to analyze them narratologicaly in light of the neuroscientific results.


KEYWORDS: obmiraniia, near-death experiences, neurosciences, neurophenomenology, afterlife, otherworld


DOI 10.31250/2618-8619-2021-1(11)-173-191
УДК 398+81′42



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