Death, Ritual, and Belief: The Rhetoric of Funerary Rites

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Bloomsbury Publishing, Jun 1, 2002 - Religion - 272 pages
Describing a great variety of funeral ritual from major world religions and from local traditions, this book shows how cultures not only cope with corpses but also create an added value for living through the encouragement of afterlife beliefs. The explosion of interest in death in recent years reflects the key theme of this book - the rhetoric of death - the way cultures use the most potent weapon of words to bring new power to life. This new edition is one third longer than the original with new material on the death of Jesus, the most theorized death ever which offers a useful case study for students. There is also empirical material from contemporary/recent events such as the death of Diana and an expanded section on theories of grief which will make the book more attractive to death counsellors.
 

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Contents

1 Interpreting Death Rites
1
Impurity Fertility and Fear
24
3 Theories of Grief
43
4 Violence Sacrifice and Conquest
62
5 Eastern Destiny and Death
81
6 Ancestors Cemeteries and Local Identity
91
7 Jewish and Islamic Destinies
118
8 Christianity and the Death of Jesus
125
10 Somewhere to Die
155
11 Souls and the Presence of the Dead
163
12 Pet and Animal Death
182
13 Book Film and Building
196
14 Offending Death Grief and Religions
211
15 Secular Death and Life
224
Bibliography
240
Index
258

9 NearDeath Symbolic Death and Rebirth
145

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About the author (2002)

Douglas Davies is Professor in the Study of Religion and Director of the Centre for Death and Life Studies at Durham University, UK. He is the author of Natural Burial (2012), The Theology of Death (2008) and A Brief History of Death (2004). He is also the editor, along with Lewis Mates, of The Encyclopedia of Cremation (2005). Professor Davies 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.

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