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A Brief History of Death


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Table of Contents

List of illustrations. 1 Journey Beyond. Gilgamesh. Adam and Eve. Death, Sin and Atonement. Resurrection-Transcendence. Release-Transcendence. Self-Transcendence. Hope and Faith. To Be or Not To Be. Traditional Futures. The Uneasy Species. Death Our Future. Autobiographical History of Death. Methods of Approach. Words Against Death. Myth Again. 2 Parting?s Sweet Sorrow. Relationships, Death and Destiny. Family Bonds. Hell, Life and Work. Secular Ethics and Loss. Freud and Bowlby. Grief-Stages. Fixing the Unfixable. Helplessness. Aberbach and Charisma. World Religions. Identity and Religions. Identity?s Demise and Death. Adulthood--Childhood, Maturity and Death of Parents. Moral-Somatic Links. Spiritualism. Departure. 3 Removing the Dead. Souls. Status and Destiny. Ritual Change. Resurrection. Secular Trends. Changing Times. Default Religion. From Respect to Dignity. Death-Style and Belief. Cremated Remains. Space, Cryogenics and Computers. 4 Ecology, Death and Hope. Criminals, Heretics, Bodies and Belief. Dying at Home. Hospice. Symbolic Bodies. American Ways of Death. Ecology. Hope Springs Eternal. Forest. Positive and Negative Dust. Ethics and Spirituality at Large. Death?s Paradigm Shift. Ecological Immortality. 5 Art, Literature and Music. Variety. Bible. Dante. Milton. Secular Strains. Art. Portraying the Dead. Religious Fusion. Hope. 6 Places of Memory. Myth. The Dynamics of Memorial Sites. Locating Hope: the Dynamics of Memorial Sites. Place and Hope. How to Speak of the Dead?. Location 1: Graveyard and Cemetery. Hope 1: Eternal, Eschatological Form of Identity. Location 2: Cremation and Remains. Hope 2: Internal, the Retrospective Fulfilment of Identity. Location 3: Woodland Burial. Hope 3: Natural, the Ecological Fulfilment of Identity. Memorial Texts. The National Memorial Arboretum. Lifestyle -- Death-Style. 7 Fear of Death. A Mythical Form. Hinduism, Buddhism. Christianity. Albert Schweitzer and C. S. Lewis. Essential Fear. Plague. Modern Devastations. Philosophical Fears. Psychology and Fear of Death. Picasso. Fears Real and Imagined. Contemporary Fears. Imaginative Fears. Fear Abolished. 8 Purposeful and Useless Death. Power of Death. Warfare. Genocide. Violence at Heart. Disasters. Baby-Death. Suicide -- Euthanasia. Offending Deaths. Illness and Death. The Future of Death. Christian Eternal Life. Death?s Margins. Age and Death. Hopeless Non-Places. 2020 Time and Vision. The World?s Death. Bibliography. Index

About the Author

Douglas J. Davies is a Professor in the Department of Theology at Durham University. He is widely acknowledged as one of the world's leading experts in the history, theology and sociology of death. His books include: Anthropology and Theology (2002); Death, Ritual and Belief, Second edition (2001); Themes and Issues in Christianity (1998); Transforming Mormon Identities (1998); Reusing Old Graves (1995); and Church and Religion in Rural England (1991). He has also published a large number of articles on death, and contemporary Christianity.


"The author reveals himself to be a sensitive and humane guide, in a book that ought to fascinate anyone interested in the existential conundrum of human morality." Times Higher Education Supplement

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