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A Brief History of Death (Blackwell Brief Histories of Religion)

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"The author reveals himself to be a sensitive and humane guide, in a book that ought to fascinate anyone interested in the existential conundrum of human morality." Times Higher Education Supplement

The act of death itself and the rituals surrounding it vary enormously and shed a fascinating light on the cultures of which they are a part. In this brief and lively history, Douglas Davies – internationally acknowledged as one of the leading experts in this field – tackles some of the most significant aspects of death and weaves them into a compelling story about our changing attitudes to dying.
  • Offers a fascinating examination of this subject which is of enduring interest in every culture in the world
  • Considers the profound influence death has had on subjects ranging from philosophy to anthropology, through to art, literature, and music - inspiring some of our most enduring artistic highpoints
  • Broaches some of the most significant aspects of death, such as the act of dying, grieving, burial, artistic interpretations of death, places of memory, the fear of death, and disasters/tragedies
  • Weaves these numerous approaches to death into a compelling story about our changing attitudes to dying
  • Contains several illustrations, and is written in an accessible and lively style.

  • Death is a subject of enduring interest in every culture in the world. The act of death itself and the rituals surrounding it vary enormously and shed a fascinating light on the cultures of which they are a part.

    About the Author

    Douglas J. Davies is a Professor in the Department of Theology at Durham University. He is widely acknowledged as one of the world's leading experts in the history, theology and sociology of death. His books include: Anthropology and Theology (2002); Death, Ritual and Belief, Second edition (2001); Themes and Issues in Christianity (1998); Transforming Mormon Identities (1998); Reusing Old Graves (1995); and Church and Religion in Rural England (1991). He has also published a large number of articles on death, and contemporary Christianity.

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