The Meanings of Death

Front Cover
Cambridge University Press, Mar 26, 1993 - Religion - 243 pages
While recognising the limitations of a book about death, where words are sometimes used which cannot bear the weight, John Bowker here puts forward, with integrity and honesty, a compelling case for the creative significance of death, and shows how value and dignity can be maintained at the limits of life without an illusory search for compensation. The author's view is that the religious exploration of death has nothing to do (as has often been maintained) with the projection of compensating paradises to those who cannot face the reality of oblivion; it has everything to do, however, with the affirmation of value, right up to the boundary of death. By examining the themes of sacrifice and friendship, in both eastern and western contexts, Bowker argues that in both these themes there are points of vital contact with secular understandings of death, and that religious and secular interpretations can reinforce and support one another in the human response to death. A recovery of the value of death, the author maintains, is important for all of us, not least in how we come to react to bereavement and in the treatment of the terminally ill in hospital and hospice work. 'Bowker shows, in a way which is impressive and moving, that death is integral to life, and that the acceptance of one's own death can be seen as a positive acceptance of the larger life of the universe' - John Hick.

From inside the book

What people are saying - Write a review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - JamesBlake - LibraryThing

Excellent introduction to ideas of death in different religions, particularly about the early centuries when belief in any kind of meaningful afterlife was rare Read full review

The meanings of death

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

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 ... Read full review

Contents

Death and the origins of religion
3
Religions and the origin of death
43
Judaism
45
Christianity
75
Islam
102
Hinduism
129
Buddhism
168
Conclusion
207
Conclusion
209
Bibliography
232
Index
238
Copyright

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

Bibliographic information