Subject Area: Thanatology

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.

An Historical Perspective of Helping Practices Associated with Birth, Marriage and Death Among Chamorros in Guam
2000 0-7734-7677-6
This ethnographic research focuses on traditional forms of reciprocity within social networks and examines changes that have occurred as a consequence of rapid Westernization. Methods of data collection include informal interviewing, participant observation, collection of life histories, and documentation of family genealogies. Differences explored include variations between genders, across age cohorts, levels of formal education, and comprehension of the Chamorro language. With illustrations.

An 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.

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.

Brain, Mind and Soul in the Theological Psychology of Donald Mackay, 1922-1987
2008 0-7734-5519-1
This work seeks to present a Post-Cartesian metaphysical anthropology that is consistent with both contemporary philosophy and Reformed Evangelical Christian Theology. It does so by examining the intellectual legacy of Donald M. MacKay, arguing that his concept of complementary descriptions leads us to a deeper understanding of both modern neurophysiology and the Christian hope for personal life beyond the grave. Covering a wide range of topics from the history of philosophy and theology to logic, the philosophy of language, information theory, freedom and determinism, and the philosophy of mind, this work attempts to present an updated form of the school of thought Donald MacKay founded and ambitiously named ‘Comprehensive Realism’. This book contains 5 black and white photographs.

Case Study of Genocide in the Ukrainian Famine of 1921-1923
2007 0-7734-5278-8
This study 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
This book 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
This book will 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. Furthermore, this book will challenge some of the more influential explanations of serial murder put forth by noted people in the field arguing that many of these theories have failed to encapsulate the actions of women who commit these serial crimes. 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
This study 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.

Literature on Suicide 1516-1815 a Bibliographical Essay
1996 0-7734-8809-X
This bibliographical essay is intended as a contribution to the history of ideas in the broadest sense and as an aid to new studies on suicide in early modern Europe. It includes items which can be considered as substantial steps, whether in a progressive or conservative direction, in the theoretical debate on suicide in this period. Monographic works make up the majority of the entries, and the author has added some commentary to those items which seemed to merit it, on account of their originality or because they are turning-points in the ideological debate on the subject.

Many Ways We Talk About Death in Contemporary Society: Interdisciplinary Studies in Portrayal and Classification
2009 0-7734-4688-5
This interdisciplinary work 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. This book contains one black and white photograph and 8 color photographs.

Metaphoric Analysis of the Debate on Physician Assisted Suicide
1999 0-7734-8041-2
This volume uses metaphoric analysis to explore the rhetorical aspects of the debate as represented in the published works of three physicians with opposing views: Dr. C. Everett Koop, Dr. Jack Kevorkian, and Dr. Timothy Quill. After examining the texts, the author invents a hybrid metaphorical concept which can serve as a rhetorical bridge for participants in the debate. Once this metaphorical means of communication is in place, the necessary exploration of ethical systems can occur. Spragins goes well into the rhetorically unexplored territory of the debate on physician assisted suicide, illustrating in every argument how metaphor figures on thinking and speaking about the human mode of perceiving and being.

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.



Social Impacts of Infectious Disease in England 1600 to 1900
2000 0-7734-7764-0
This is a report of a sociological, social-history study of the effects of threats of infectious diseases on the everyday behavior of members of a society. Episodes of a variety of infectious diseases, including bubonic plague, cholera, smallpox, and typhoid fever were identified over the time period studied to determine their impacts. Disruptions and alterations were identified as either temporary or permanent in nature. A version of threat theory was tested as an explanation for the kinds of changes that occurred and for the distinction between changes that were temporary and those that were permanent.

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.

Stories of Attila the Hun’s Death Narrative, Myth, and Meaning
2001 0-7734-7446-3
As a “world-historical” figure, Attila the Hun captured the imaginations of Roman imperial chroniclers and early Germanic epic poets alike. Specifically, the momentous event of Attila’s death was interpreted quite differently as it became incorporated into various Roman, Byzantine, and gothic narratives. Working within the tradition of narrative studies and drawing upon the ideas of historian Hayden White as well as structuralist/narrativist literary theory, this study explores and interprets the rich ideological contradictions surrounding the ‘stories’ of Attila’s death which circulated in the late classical and early medieval world.

Suicide - The Constructive/destructive Self
1996 0-7734-8830-8
This volume deals with the destructive behavior of suicidal young adults and older ages, with emphasis on youth in our society. It explores the early theories of Freud and Durkheim, along with the research of Schneidman, Farberow, Litman, Henry, and Short, Jr. Later research findings include Lester, Stone, Gibbs, Hogerman, Giannini, Slaby, and others. Examines the concepts of Holistic Health and Wellness, the impact of lifestyle, stress, life crises, and loss. It includes constructive lifestyle recommendations. The final chapter discusses the reality of death, the practice of euthanasia, and the right to die. This book is available at a textbook price

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.