Monday, April 17, 2017

Tappenden and Daniel-Hughes (eds.), Coming Back to Life


The lines between death and life were neither fixed nor finite to the peoples of the ancient Mediterranean. For most, death was a passageway into a new and uncertain existence. The dead were not so much extinguished as understood to be elsewhere, and many perceived the deceased to continue to exercise agency among the living. Even for those more skeptical of an afterlife, notions of coming back to life provided frameworks in which to conceptualize the on-going social, political, and cultural influence of the past. This collection of essays examines how notions of coming back to life shape practices and ideals throughout the ancient Mediterranean. All contributors focus on the common theme of coming back to life as a discursive and descriptive space in which antique peoples construct, maintain, and negotiate the porous boundaries between past and present, mortality and immortality, death and life.
I am surprised to see that none of the essays are specifically about Jewish traditions, unless you count The Life of Adam and Eve as Jewish. (I don't.) But there is plenty of interesting material on the Greco-Roman world and early Christianity.

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