1st Edition

Death, Burial and Rebirth in the Religions of Antiquity

By Jon Davies Copyright 1999
    272 Pages
    by Routledge

    272 Pages
    by Routledge

    In Death, Burial and Rebirth in the Religions of Antiquity, Jon Davies charts the significance of death to the emerging religious cults in the pre-Christian and early Christian world. He analyses the varied burial rituals and examines the different notions of the afterlife. Among the areas covered are:
    * Osiris and Isis: the life theology of Ancient Egypt
    * burying the Jewish dead
    * Roman religion and Roman funerals
    * Early Christian burial
    * the nature of martyrdom.
    Jon Davies also draws on the sociological theory of Max Weber to present a comprehensive introduction to and overview of death, burial and the afterlife in the first Christian centuries which offers insights into the relationship between social change and attitudes to death and dying.

    Introduction PART I Death in the Ancient Near East 1 Osiris and Isis: The life-theology of Ancient Egypt 2 Zoroaster, Ahura Mazda and Ahriman 3 Canaanites and Mesopotamians 4 Mere texts or living realities? The possible influence of the older thanatologies on Judaism and Christianity PART II From caves and rock-cut tombs to Judaism 5 The general archaeology of the Ancient Near East 6 Judaism: Towards the common era 7 Burying the Jewish dead 8 Good luck with your resurrection! Opening the heavens and raising the dead PART III Romans and Greeks: A theodicy of good fortune? 9 Roman and Greek philosophies of death 10 Roman religion and Roman funerals 11 Ovid’s ‘ever-varying forms’: Greek mythologies, sarcophagi and the boundaries of mortality 12 Ovid’s ‘bonds of love and duty’: Funerals, epitaphs, orations and death in the arena PART IV Christians, martyrs, soldiers, saints 13 Christian burial 14 The nature of martyrdom, Epilogue: Sacrificial living and sacrificial dying: Christians in the world


    Jon Davies was until recently Head of Department of Religious Studies at the University of Newcastle, where he now teaches part-time.

    'a fascinating analysis of the significance of death in early Christianity ... an impressive wealth of archaelogical and literary data [and] the resulting work is clear and readable.' - The Expository Times Vol.III No.6 March 2000

    '... the total effect is of an original scholarly study' - William Frend, Church Times

    'Davis has produced a stimulating monogaphy on a vast subject' - Johan Leemans, Heythrop Journal

    'The book is easy to read, and provides a good introduction to the study of comparative funerary religion for archaeologists and others outside the discipline or religious studies.' - Assemblage, University of Sheffield

    '... the application of a Weberian approach is, in itself, a welcome and valuable contribution.' - Bernadette McNary-Zak, Rhodes College, Reviews in Religion and Theology