Subject Area: Thanatology

Ars Moriendi Manuals, Paintings, and Funeral Rituals in Late Medieval Europe and Sixteenth Century Mexico ( New Spain ). Learning How to Live by Learning How to Die
2016 1-4955-0477-8
The Ars moriendi manual, which had been popular because of its brevity and concision, was chosen by the Franciscan Order as an essential text for promoting the Christian doctrine in New Spain and for re-organizing the funerary practices therein. This book identifies the official and unofficial discourses of the Church regarding Salvation and the funerary practices of New Spain that link the Old World to the New.


Alcohol and Altered States in Ancestor Veneration Rituals of Zhou Dynasty China and Iron Age Palestine a New Approach to Ancestor Rituals
1998 0-7734-8360-8
Alcohol has been the means to induce altered states of consciousness in many religious contexts. This book is the first to examine how alcohol-based trance states can be a feature of ancestor veneration practices. Two cases are explored in detail. In the first, alcohol is established as the trigger which induced a state of spirit mediumship in the Zhou dynasty Chinese Personator of the Dead. In the second case, the Ugaritic and Iron Age Palestinian marzeah is revealed as a descent to the dead induced by alcohol consumption. Principal sources are Chinese odes, histories and ritual texts, Ugaritic Texts and Biblical prophetic literature. Archaeological evidence also contributes to understanding these two rituals in their cultural contexts.

Analytical Study of the Legal, Moral and Ethical Aspects of the Living Phenomenon of Euthanasia
2003 0-7734-6613-4
This work provides a close examination of the definitional issues surrounding euthanasia, and analyses euthanasia as a ‘living phenomenon’ which can be best understood by reflecting upon subjective understandings of the subject and individuals’ lived experiences of their medical conditions and treatment. The work addresses not only the law surrounding voluntary active euthanasia, but also the withdrawal of treatment from incapacitated patients, the refusal of treatment by competent patients, and the subject of advance directives. Additionally the work takes a comparative approach to euthanasia laws in the Netherlands and Australia in order to illustrate the differing legal and ethical positions that exist. The work includes a small empirical study which takes forward some of the central issues by placing them in the contextual setting provided by members of the medical profession, hospice staff, general public, and voluntary and anti-euthanasia society members.

Case Study of Genocide in the Ukrainian Famine of 1921-1923
2007 0-7734-5278-8
Examines the discriminatory ways of combating famine in two different areas: in the Volga Valley of Russia and in the south-eastern Ukrainian provinces. Since Russia and Ukraine were governed by Moscow’s War Communism economic policy, every province had an assignment contingent of grain to deliver to the state, and to the Volga Valley, but not to the starving Ukrainian provinces. During the Ukrainian famine of 1921 to 1923, it is estimated that 2 to 2.5 million people starved to death. This book contains 6 black and white photographs.

Checkpoint - Poems of Death and Old Age a Bilingual Edition of Posto Di Blocco
1991 0-7734-9630-0
Libero Bigiaretti's Checkpoint, is a translation of poetry in Italian into English making the latest work by Italian author Libero Bigaretti available to the North American public. Bigiaretti searches for where the other has become the absolute denial of the reality of the self. What is singular is his perspective of a man who looks at life with the consciousness that his work is done. Bigaretti writes humorously from that narrow strip of no-man’s land between the memory of a meaningful life and the contemplation of death. The book contains an introduction, notes, original text, and translation. Libero Bigiaretti's Checkpoint, is a translation of poetry in Italian into English making the latest work by Italian author Libero Bigaretti available to the North American public. Bigiaretti searches for where the other has become the absolute denial of the reality of the self. What is singular is his perspective of a man who looks at life with the consciousness that his work is done. Bigaretti writes humorously from that narrow strip of no-man’s land between the memory of a meaningful life and the contemplation of death. The book contains an introduction, notes, original text, and translation. Fourteen illustrations by the author are also included.

Chinese and Chinese American Ancestor Veneration in the Catholic Church, 635 A. D. to the Present
2010 0-7734-3624-3
This work demonstrates that the ultimate creation and performance of the ancestor memorial liturgy by the Catholic Church is the practical realization of the ideal to renew attempts at worldwide inculturation as set forth during Vatican II. This book contains twelve color photograhs.

Contrasts in the Representation of Death by Sophocles, Webster and Strindberg
1975 0-7734-0423-6


Death and Taxes in the Ancient Near East
1992 0-7734-9512-6
An understanding of the treatment of the dead enables us to reconstruct the relationship of an individual to other individuals. Taxation helps define one's relationship with the political structure of society. These articles originated in a faculty/graduate student symposium organized by the Graduate Students Association of the Dept. of Near Eastern Studies at the University of Toronto (March 1991). With illustrations.

Death and Violence in Old and Middle English Literature
2007 0-7734-5469-1
Explores how medieval English authors used the spectacle of a character’s death to express their views about the martial culture of their aristocratic countrymen. The argument is set forth that authorial attitudes toward the warrior ethos evolved from respect or even veneration during the Anglo-Saxon period to condemnation in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, when, after hundreds of years of incessant warfare, writers came to see this ethos as little more than a system of institutionalized violence. Given the texts it considers, this book should appeal particularly to Anglo-Saxonists and Arthurianists, as well as to scholars of war in the Middles Ages and to gender theorists who study medieval conceptions of masculinity.

Epitaph Culture in the West
2003 0-7734-6785-8
This book examines a number of facets of Western epitaph culture since antiquity, with particular emphasis on post-medieval developments in the major European countries as well as in North America. Various epitaphic “sub-cultures” are analyzed, among them the time-honored custom of composing one’s own tomb inscription as well as the ancient and modern convention of honoring animals with epitaphs. It also examines epitaph-collecting, epitaph “lies,” humorous epitaphs, and the change in social and religious attitudes toward suicides. The book concludes with a cultural and intellectual history of epitaphs. An epilogue addresses the question of the supposed disappearance of epitaph culture at the present time.

Female Serial Murderer
2005 0-7734-6000-4
Focus on gender bias in perceptions of criminal women, using the extreme example of serial murder. Often, an examination of the extreme can show cultural biases with greater clarity. This book shows that men and women, as with more common homicide trends, carry out serial murdering in different patterns. Lastly, this book will explore another possible definition of serial murder as well as some alternative theoretical approaches to the problem. While there have been numerous studies of male serial killers, studies of female serial killers are lacking, even though, as the statistics of this book document, there have been many over time.

Function of the Living Dead in Medieval Norse and Celtic Literature
2007 0-7734-5353-9
Examines the nature and function of the dead in medieval Norse and Celtic literature. It is demonstrated that agents of the living dead in these literatures have a functional and formulaic role, largely manifested as a process of wish-fulfillment. While the authors of these stories provide resonances of past beliefs regarding the dead, they also appear to have adapted these ideas for their own purposes in order to involve the dead as role-players in their stories. This book contains 11 color photographs.

Funeral Rituals in Eastern Shandong, China: An Anthropological Study
2009 0-7734-3890-4
This work is the first detailed Western study of contemporary funeral rituals in villages in north China. At a time of great social transformation in China, this work examines funeral rituals, encompassing the rites of transformation and the rites of disposal.

Grounds for Belief in Life After Death
1987 0-88946-716-1
Expounds a Christian viewpoint of life after death, including a background chapter on biblical roots and encompassing some mystical and existential approaches. An appendix presents Paul Tillich's 1962 Harvard lecture, "Symbols of Eternal Life."

History of a Jewish Burial Society an Examination of Secularization
1991 0-7734-9950-4
This work has two subjects: a monograph dealing with one of the most ancient Jewish acts, acquiring a cemetery plot; and one of the oldest elements in the American Jewish communal structure, the burial society. It is a critique of secularization theory. Provides information on the history, role in the contemporary world, and function in a highly secular society of the Jewish burial society.

History of Man's Responses to Death Mythologies, Rituals, and Ethics
1990 0-88946-142-2
This book examines death from a biological and historical point of view, and its impact on human thinking. The problems of unexplained death, the criteria of death, and its meaning in the light of the Second Law of Thermodynamics are discussed. The answers given by philosophy and the sociological aspects of the phenomena related to the care of the terminally ill, to mercy killing, to suicide and to the death penalty, are also investigated. The thesis supported is that the fear of death is the motivation behind our need to accomplish anything (be it having children or getting the Nobel Prize) that will allow us to survive death. The primary cause of most of our actions in fact, are traced to our desire to achieve some form of immortality. The fear of death is considered to be life’s main energy source. In sum, the book finds that fear of death is the motive behind the human need to accomplish anything at all and discusses care of the terminally ill, mercy killing, suicide, and the death penalty.

How Should a Christian Die?
2013 0-7734-2619-1
This monograph is a reflective journey about life and death by the Harvard and University of Toronto Professor, Herbert Richardson. Richardson explores the hardship of life and the spiritual suffering of a Christian trying to follow in the path of Jesus by contextualizing these ideas via the stages of life one passes through. By suffering like Christ, individuals are able to construct for themselves a life and a death that holds meaning because of what they did while on earth.

Illness Beliefs and Feeding the Dead in Hindu Nepal an Ethnographic Analysis
1988 0-88946-060-4
Analyzes villagers' cultural use of food and food symbols and contrasts Hindu Nepalese social ideology with that of the Western world, where individualism and equality are expressed and valued.

Investigation of Koimaomai in the New Testament. The Concept of Eschatological Sleep
1996 0-7734-2417-2
This work argues that the sleep-of-death metaphor in New Testament usage is compatible with an approach to a model of the intermediate state called wholistic dualism. Focusing mainly on the New Testament witness, this book investigates the historical progression of the use of the term koimaomai and its minor semantic associates from the time of Homer to the early church fathers. The time frame includes a consideration of non-Christian Greek and Latin sources; the Hellenistic period including the LXX, Pseudepigrapha, Philo, Josephus; the semantic domain in Hebrew and Aramaic incorporating the Old Testament and the literature of Second Temple Judaism; and the early post-biblical reaction. An exhaustive search of the TLG uncovered many striking examples from primary sources.

Many Ways We Talk About Death in Contemporary Society. Interdisciplinary Studies in Portrayal and Classification
2009 0-7734-4688-5
An interdisciplinary work that examines the representation of death in traditional and “new” media, explore the meaning of assassination and suicide in a post 9/11 context, and grapple with the use of legal and medical tools that affect the quest for a “good death.” The contributors treat their interrelated topics from the perspective of their expertise in medicine, law, psychology, anthropology, sociology, political science, religion, philosophy, literature, media, and visual culture.

Near-Death Experiences of Hospitalized Intensive Care Patients: A Five-Year Clinical Study
2008 0-7734-5103-X
This clinical study is the largest of its kind in the United Kingdom and the first long-term prospective study of NDEs in existence. Most research into near-death experiences (NDEs) is based on anecdotal accounts which have no medical data to verify proximity to death or support the reports.

Psalms of Lamentation and the Enigma of Suffering
1996 0-7734-2416-4
This study investigates the psalms of lamentation in order to determine what contributions they provide toward the understanding of suffering. Three areas were selected for investigation: the reasons for suffering, the reactions to suffering, and resolutions to suffering. The psalms of lamentation address the issue of suffering more clearly than any portions of the Old Testament. Identification is the key - as we identify with the authors of the psalms, and the reasons they suffered, how they reacted to pain, and how they resolved their pain, then we can understand better our suffering.

Sacred Geography of the American Mound-Builders
1990 0-88946-484-7


Secularization of Death in Scotland, 1815-1900: How the Funeral Industry Displaced the Church as Custodian of the Dead (a Study of Private Cemeteries, Public Crematoria, and Bereavement Practices in Edinburgh)
2015 0-7734-3521-2
Death is one of the few constants of human experience. It is a fact of life that binds humanity. Despite its familiarity, the rituals, customs, and attitudes relating to it are ever-changing, always reflecting the hopes, fears, and ambitions of living society. This book considers how death practices were transformed during the nineteenth century. Using Edinburgh as a backdrop, it covers a range of issues relating to death, from changing expectations at the graveside to changing attitudes toward the afterlife. The nineteenth century was a formative period. Here, we witness the foundations being laid for many of the features that we take for granted in the early twenty-first century.

A rapidly changing society saw death become a statistical issue, a public health issue, an event where professional practitioners become increasingly important in terms of how the vent was handled. Yet institutional change would be only one of a number of dynamic forces that were shaping the manner in which people met their end. An increasingly capitalist economy meant that death would become big business. This in turn would transform how the funeral and the expression of grief, would be performed. But it is never a one-way process, and change does not always filter down from an institutional level. Any change in death culture reflects a number of processes, some of which are obvious, and some given the private nature of loss, which are ultimately inscrutable.



Sociological and Spiritual Aspects of Palliative Care in Ireland. Understandings of a “ Good Death”
2011 0-7734-1570-X
This book explores understandings of a ‘good death’ and the spiritual dimension of care in an Irish palliative care setting. It provides a new theoretical framework in which these experiences and how they are shaped by their cultural context can be understood.

Socrates, Lucretius, Camus - Two Philosophical Traditions on Death
2001 0-7734-7369-6
This monograph links reasons for attitudes toward death to reasons for different metaphysical positions on the human being and the place of the human being in the universe. Most recent discussions of death either place the topic directly in the context of nothing more than ethical considerations without reference to the deeper ontological or metaphysical issues, or place it in the context of Heideggerian or existentialist considerations. This essays goes deeper than the former and provides a broader context than the latter. The discussion is structured by the thought of Camus, providing a careful reading of both The Myth of Sisyphus and The Outsider. Examines his connection to both the empiricist tradition and Hume, Plotinus, Lucretius, Socrates, Aristotle, the Stoics, and into the modern period with Spinoza. Their metaphysical positions on death are fully laid out.

Study of the Intellectual and Material Culture of Death in Nineteenth Century America
2003 0-7734-6823-4


Teaching the Shoah in the Twenty-First Century - Topics and Topographies
2004 0-7734-6403-4
This book is a collection of essays arising from the international conference The Legacy of the Holocaust: Teaching the Shoah that was held at the University of Nebraska at Omaha in 1999. Hundreds of scholars and educators gathered for five days of seminars, workshops and academic sessions each of which addressed specific topics and pedagogies for teaching the Shoah. The essays selected for inclusion in this book represent the thoroughly developed views that a group of scholars/ educators advanced at the conference. Their contributions address major concerns of educators and scholars already established in the field, as well as those of individuals just venturing into the arena. Each essay explores a distinctive Shoah related topic, or proposes an innovative pedagogical approach for effectively presenting the Holocaust to students. This book would be of interest to any person engaged in the study of or research into the Holocaust, or for educators seeking innovative and proven classroom methods for teaching the subject.

There are two portions to this work: topics and topographies. The Topics section will afford close readings of a variety of Holocaust related subjects, many not commonly taught. The topics cross traditional disciplines and extend a complexity of issues arising from purely traditional considerations of the Shoah (i.e. historical, literary or cultural). Topographies introduce specific methodologies that educators have developed for teaching the Holocaust. Instead of dwelling on “tried and true” canonical practices, these contributors advance genuinely resourceful methods for presenting standard Holocaust texts. Contributions in both categories provide suggested reading and viewing lists, which for educators involved in the field, for students investigating the topic, or interested lay readers will prove invaluable.

Traditionalism Versus Modernism at Death Allegorical Tales of Africa
1989 0-88946-188-0
Describes two differing concepts of death and death rituals, those of Modernism and Traditionalism, and depicts, through the story medium, how they wrestle for preeminence at funerals.

Understanding Life and Death Through Plato and Socrates. Philosophy as a Confrontation with Eternity
2012 0-7734-2899-2
It fills in a gap by outlining the ways that Plato and Socrates talk about life and death. There is also a lengthy discussion of how Aristophanes responded with satirical exaggerations of their positions. This author focuses entirely on how death and eternity are integral thematic components of the Platonic dialogues. The contribution is in drawing on copious secondary material to make the argument that all great philosophy must serve as a confrontation with eternity. It must make the audience resolve the issue of their own mortality by confronting our precarious place in the cosmos. Eternity is a prescient theme in Plato and Socrates, which is important for bolstering their place in the Western canon.