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Death, Ritual and Belief


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Table of Contents

Preface to Second Edition Preface to Third Edition Acknowledgements Illustrations Introduction 1. Interpreting Death Rites 2. Coping with Corpses: Impurity, Fertility and Fear 3 Theories of Grief 4. Violence, Sacrifice and Conquest 5. Eastern Destiny and Death 6. Ancestors, Cemeteries and Local Identity 7. Jewish and Islamic Destinies 8. Christianity and the Death of Jesus 9. Near-Death, Symbolic Death and Rebirth 10. Somewhere to Die 11. Souls and the Presence of the Dead 12. Pet and Animal Death 13. Robots, Books, Films and Buildings 14. Offending Death, Grief and Religions 15. Secular Death and Life Bibliography Index

Promotional Information

An introduction to key authors and authorities on death beliefs, bereavement, grief and ritual-symbolism, Death, Ritual and Belief is an authoritative guide to the perspectives of major religious and secular worldviews.

About the Author

Douglas Davies is Professor in the Study of Religion and Director of the Centre for Death and Life Studies, Durham University, UK. He is the author of numerous books on death, Mormonism and Anglicanism. He is a Fellow of the British Academy, as well as a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences and of the Learned Society of Wales.


In this third edition, Douglas Davies has once again crafted a book that skilfully draws together current multi-disciplinary thinking and examples to illuminate how humans respond to death through ritual, belief, art and architecture. Through his clear writing, not only does he summarise key issues of rituals and rites - making this an excellent resource for students and scholars alike - but also provides insightful suggestions for future death studies research. * Erica Borgstrom, Lecturer in Medical Anthropology & End of Life Care, The Open University, UK *
Professor Davies has revised his widely respected text - "Death, Ritual, and Belief" - as a place where classical texts of anthropology and theology interrogate the new. This new edition also investigates the novel entires into the world of death and dying - from robots to near-death experiences to the world of social media. An encyclopaedic and scholarly triumph! * Allan Kellehear, 50th Anniversary Professor (End-of-Life Care), University of Bradford, UK *
Davies's blend of personal theories about processes of grief and his survey of others' research offers important contributions in death studies. * Reading Religion *

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