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Life After Death: A History of the Afterlife in Western by Alan F. Segal

By Alan F. Segal

A magisterial paintings of social historical past, Life After Death illuminates the numerous other ways old civilizations grappled with the query of what precisely occurs to us when we die.

In a masterful exploration of the way Western civilizations have outlined the afterlife, Alan F. Segal weaves jointly biblical and literary scholarship, sociology, historical past, and philosophy. A well known pupil, Segal examines the maps of the afterlife present in Western spiritual texts and divulges not just what quite a few cultures believed yet how their notions mirrored their societies’ realities and beliefs, and why these ideals replaced over the years. He continues that the afterlife is the replicate within which a society arranges its proposal of the self. The composition procedure for Judaism, Christianity, and Islam begins in grief and leads to the victory of the self over death.

Arguing that during each spiritual culture the afterlife represents the final word gift for the great, Segal combines old and anthropological information with insights gleaned from spiritual and philosophical writings to provide an explanation for the subsequent mysteries: why the Egyptians insisted on an afterlife in heaven, whereas the physique was once embalmed in a tomb on the earth; why the Babylonians considered the useless as residing in underground prisons; why the Hebrews remained silent approximately existence after demise throughout the interval of the 1st Temple, but embraced it in the second one Temple interval (534 B.C.E. –70 C.E.); and why Christianity put the afterlife within the middle of its trust process. He discusses the interior dialogues and arguments inside of Judaism and Christianity, displaying the underlying dynamic at the back of them, in addition to the guidelines that mark the diversities among the 2 religions. In a considerate exam of the impression of biblical perspectives of heaven and martyrdom on Islamic ideals, he deals a desirable point of view at the present troubling upward thrust of Islamic fundamentalism.

In tracing the natural, historic relationships among sacred texts and groups of trust and evaluating the visions of lifestyles after demise that experience emerged all through background, Segal sheds a shiny, revealing mild at the intimate connections among notions of the afterlife, the societies that produced them, and the individual’s look for the last word which means of existence on earth.

From Publishers Weekly
This huge research combines historical past, geography, mythology, archaeology and anthropology with biblical textual content research. Segal, a professor of Jewish experiences at Barnard collage, spent 10 years in this undertaking, however the erudition he screens is unquestionably the results of a life of scholarship. In each tradition, humans ask a similar primary questions about their life, together with "what occurs once we die?" even supposing Segal keeps that solutions to that question lie "beyond affirmation or disconfirmation within the medical sense," he bargains a accomplished review of the way the afterlife is known within the 3 major Western religions. He completely examines early affects from Egypt, Mesopotamia, Canaan, Iran and Greece, then analyzes Jewish perspectives as expressed within the first and moment temple classes, the booklet of Daniel, the useless Sea scrolls and writings from and approximately New testomony instances, the early rabbis, mysticism and fundamentalism. For Christianity, systematic cognizance is given to Paul, the Gospels, the pseudepigraphic literature and the Church Fathers. Segal additionally scans Muslim ideals as they seem within the Qur'an and the writings of Shi'a mystics and smooth fundamentalists. The introductory and concluding chapters give you the essence of the presentation, enlivened by way of quotations from Shakespeare. Impatient readers could commence with those chapters as a advisor to selecting which different sections of the ebook warrant additional scrutiny. cautious readers, despite the fact that, will take the difficulty and the time to pore over this outstanding contribution to our knowing of human trust and behavior.
Copyright © Reed company info, a department of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Review
Praise for Alan F. Segal’s Paul the Convert

“Bold and imaginative.” —Paula Fredriksen, Books & Religion

“Alan Segal’s new ebook demanding situations Jewish and Christian students alike to take a clean examine this well-educated guy, arguing not just that it's very unlikely to appreciate Paul’s Christian writings with out realizing first-century Judaism yet that early Hellenistic Judaism is itself illuminated through Paul, due to the fact that he was once one among in simple terms Pharisees to have left any own writings at all.” —The Washington publish ebook World

“This is a considerate, hard publication that the intense pupil of Paul will locate worth the effort.” —Bible Today

“Segal’s paintings abounds in clean insights for college kids of Paul.” —F. F. Bruce, American historic Review

“A brilliantly argued e-book. . . . Paul is neither hero nor villain for Segal yet a desirable ancient and spiritual personality, from whom we will be able to examine a lot approximately either Judaism and Christianity. . . . i discovered myself completely sympathetic to Segal’s portrayal of Paul. greater than that, i discovered myself convinced.” —J. Christian Wilson, The Christian Century

“Elegantly produced. . . . Segal considers Paul’s Pharisaic schooling and coaching in addition to the Jewish context of his spiritual fight after he grew to become a Christian. He treats Paul as a Jew, a convert, and an apostle, and locations his conversion from Pharisaism to Christianity within the context of his society and his venture to the Gentiles.” —America

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Extra info for Life After Death: A History of the Afterlife in Western Religion

Sample text

The process of slowly unifying many local traditions encompassed a much larger degree of ambiguity than would appeal to us. Each of the major accounts of creation in would appeal to us. Each of the major accounts of creation in ancient Eyptian documents, namely those found in the Pyramid Texts, The Book of the Dead, and The Memphis Theology, suggest several incongruent ways that the creation took place. These ambiguities re ect underlying di erent geographical origins for many creation stories.

These nine, the Heliopolitan Ennead (or the Nine of Heliopolis), are predominate in the religious literature of Egypt. But there are also other groups of gods to consider, including prominently, the Ogdoad (the group of eight) of the city of Khnum (later called Hermopolis) in Middle Egypt. These gods were Nun and Nunet (primeval waters), Heh and Hehet (eternity), Kek and Keket (darkness), and Tenem and Tenemet (twilight). Instead of seeking simple analogies among the various pantheons, we should attempt to understand the symbolic nature of Egyptian religion.

Well that’s baloney. I want to tell the world that it’s a bunch of bull. ” 32 It is bad enough that the person who had done most in the twentieth century to de ne the successful grieving process should herself fall victim to one of its most obvious pitfalls: “stage 2: anger” as she called it. Kübler-Ross was widely reported to have recanted her observations about the afterlife, and worse still, to have admitted that she cynically invented her surety both to enrich herself and to bene t her clinical work.

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