Bynum examines several periods between the third and fourteenth centuries in which discussions of the body were central to Western eschatology, and suggests that Western attitudes toward the body that arose from these discussions still undergird our modern notions of the individual.
"There are few historians of whom one can say that they have actually shifted some of the landscape of the writing of history in their own generation, but Bynum is one of them." -- The New Republic "Bynum's account is a very impressive and persuasive one... well supported by textual references and by connections she makes between what the ancients wrote and their burial practices, treatment of corpses and cults of relics... [A] fascinating and wide-ranging account that tells us a lot about medieval thinking and practice." -- New York Times Book Review "A remarkable achievement of scholarship and interpretation, an imaginative, determined, and persuasive probing of a counterintuitive thesis." -- Nicholas Terpstra, Sixteenth Century Journal