Three sharp, provocative lectures on the origins and restorative values of a belief in ``individual survival after death,'' by the author of Otherworld Journeys: Accounts of Near- Death Experiences in Medieval and Modern Times (not reviewed). Zaleski (World Religions and Philosophy/Smith Coll.) draws on her extensive research into the near-death experience to illuminate how our modern refusal to contemplate mortality (and thus to consider its aftermath) has left us ill equipped to deal with this ultimate reality. ``If we do not permit ourselves to form images of personal and collective existence after death,'' Zaleski argues, ``then we have no way of testing who we are or of sounding our deepest ideals.'' Zaleski draws on the theories of ancient and medieval philosophers about the afterlife; offers clear, shrewd interpretations of Christian dogma (demonstrating just how subtle and surprising such dogma is), and uses both ancient and modern accounts of near-death experiences to identify the specific ways in which a belief in survival is nurturing and necessary. The result is a persuasive case for the solace and stimulation to be found in a frank contemplation of death and whatever may follow it.