By Alan Segal
In a masterful exploration of ways Western civilizations have outlined the afterlife, Alan F. Segal weaves jointly biblical and literary scholarship, sociology, heritage, and philosophy. A well known student, Segal examines the maps of the afterlife present in Western non secular 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 through the years. He keeps that the afterlife is the reflect within which a society arranges its proposal of the self. The composition approach for Judaism, Christianity, and Islam begins in grief and results in the victory of the self over death.
Arguing that during each non secular culture the afterlife represents the final word present for the great, Segal combines historic and anthropological information with insights gleaned from non secular and philosophical writings to give an explanation for the next mysteries: why the Egyptians insisted on an afterlife in heaven, whereas the physique used to be embalmed in a tomb in the world; why the Babylonians seen the useless as dwelling in underground prisons; why the Hebrews remained silent approximately existence after demise in the course of 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 heart of its trust process. He discusses the internal dialogues and arguments inside of Judaism and Christianity, exhibiting the underlying dynamic in the back of them, in addition to the tips that mark the variations among the 2 religions. In a considerate exam of the effect of biblical perspectives of heaven and martyrdom on Islamic ideals, he deals a desirable standpoint 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 historical past, Segal sheds a vibrant, revealing gentle at the intimate connections among notions of the afterlife, the societies that produced them, and the individual’s look for the final word that means of existence on earth.
From the Hardcover edition.
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