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The Meanings of Death / Edition 1

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Overview

In The Meanings of Death, John Bowker offers a major contribution to debates about the value of death and its place in both Western and Eastern religions. Examining the themes of friendship and sacrifice in the world's major religions, Bowker argues that there are points of vital contact with secular understandings of death, and that religious and secular attitudes can support and reinforce one another. An affirmative recovery of the value of death is important in our response to bereavement, and in the treatment of the terminally ill. By indicating how value can be maintained at the limit of life, without a search for illusory compensation in an afterlife beyond it, Bowker enriches our experience and understanding of the 'final question' in a way which is always sensitive and often moving.

John Bowker offers a major contribution to debates about the value of death and its place in both Western and Eastern religions. By indicating how value can be maintained at the limit of life, without a search for illusory compensation in an afterlife, Bowker enriches our experience and understanding of the "final question."

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"An engaging study of the religious meanings of death and an excellent illustration of 'comparative theology'." Religious Studies Review
Library Journal
With verve and understated humor, Bowker ( Problems of Suffering in Religions of the World , LJ 6/15/70) critiques reductionistic thinking about the relationship between religion and death. His specific target is the ``compensatory'' view, which holds that religion, arising out of the terror that accompanies the consciousness of death, posits a desirable existence beyond death that compensates for the pain and tragedies of life. His analysis of the sacred texts of Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism uncovers much richer and more varied responses to the fact of death than the compensatory model allows. Bowker concludes with a call for the recognition and acceptance of death as the condition of the possibility of life as we know it. His largely convincing argument should find an audience in both public and academic libraries.-- Steve Gowler, Wofford Coll., Spartanburg, S.C.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521447737
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 12/28/2002
  • Series: Canto original Series
  • Edition description: Canto Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 243
  • Product dimensions: 5.43 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.59 (d)

Table of Contents

Part I. Introduction: 1. Death and the origins of religion; Part II. Religions and the origin of death: 2. Judaism; 3. Christianity; 4. Islam; 5. Hinduism; 6. Buddhism; Part III Conclusion; Bibliography; Index.

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