- File Size: 2598 KB
- Print Length: 882 pages
- Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0385422997
- Publisher: Image (June 9, 2010)
- Publication Date: June 23, 2010
- Sold by: Random House LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B003F3PKMW
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Not Enabled
Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
#835,199 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
- #722 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Religion & Spirituality > Religious Studies & Reference > Philosophy
- #790 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Religion & Spirituality > Religious Studies & Reference > Comparative Religion
- #837 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Religion & Spirituality > Religious Studies & Reference > Theology
Life After Death: A History of the Afterlife in Western Religion Kindle Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
Now, before you freak out about over 700 pages of text on life after death, it should be emphasised that Segal writes in a very accessible and easy going manner. A few of the words he uses require a dictionary, (at least, I needed one), but the incidence of this was not a burden. Segal keeps you moving and presents a great level of quotation from ancient sources to highlight his points. His manner and style of presentation and discussion are absolutely fantastic.
Segal presents the beliefs of different cultures from a more social viewpoint than anything, and deals with how these beliefs can illustrate what the people thought of about themselves and the world about them. What you end up with is a very interesting discussion not just on life after death, but also some of the political, cultural and social concerns that went into them. This makes for a very well-rounded discussion.
Segal takes you through various cultures and civilisations, and throughout he inter-connects various ideas between them to show how they illustrate each other by contrast or simularity. These cultures include chapters on Ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia and Canaan, Israelite, (broken into various chapters), and much more, including detailed chapters on Christian views and their development through the centuries.
This book is really a great overview of the topic, and it is relatively easy to find from Segal's referencing further material for more specific reading.Read more ›
Finally he gets into the big three of western religions, first he covers Jewish views (Dr. Segal is a professor of Jewish studies at Columbia). Christian views come largely from Paul (Dr. Segal wrote a definitive book on Paul.) and the Gospels. For Islam, of course the Qur'an and some of the more modern writings are used.
In spite of the books large size (about 730 pages of text plus 150 pages of notes) it is fascinating enough and well written enough that it is relatively easy reading.
Segal's book picks up where Oscar Cullman left off and goes into exhaustive and fascinating detail as to how the idea of an afterlife came to be in the Western world. Cullman's little book (Immortality of the Soul or Resurrection of the Dead) is must reading. In less than a hundred pages, Cullman details the differences between the pagan notion of an immortal soul and the Jewish/Christian belief in the resurrection of the dead--real bodies being raised in the last days. Life After Death begins with those same pagans and then offers an extremely well-documented history of various religion's views of the afterlife. This is not an afternoon read.
What I found most fascinating about Segal's book was the way he demonstrated the connection between the different philosophical ideas and the religious belief system(s) that inherited or appropriated its predecessor. One must make a leap of faith at times with his connections (no proof can be made that an early Christian said, "Plato's Phaedra makes sense to me!"), but the bridges he makes are convincing and cited with care. Gnosticism is but one compelling example of such a connection.
Apart from the historical aspect, one may ask, "So what? What difference does it make?Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Trying to sort through the various ideas that Christians, Muslims, and Jews have about the afterlife has always been complicated and frustrating. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Kevin Corn
In 866 majestic pages, Life After Death: A History of the Afterlife in the Religions of the West, reads like a smart novel and examines 5,000 years of development of afterlife... Read morePublished 13 months ago by SkepticMeditations
Confronting the history of the ‘afterlife’ in the ‘Western’ tradition, Alan Segal’s Life After Death: A History of the Afterlife in the Western Religion is a fascinating post-9/11... Read morePublished 18 months ago by David S. Wellhauser
A must read, very good overview of the concepts of death and the afterlife in classical antiquity.Published on July 27, 2014 by Abraxas
This book takes the discussion of life after life to a new level, away from the current emotional stage in which it seems to be stuck. Read morePublished on November 22, 2013 by david hinshaw
This book is being used for a graduate course on heaven,he'll and afterlife; great text for the class. I received the book in ample enough time for the class.Published on February 16, 2013 by Thomas Baynham Jr.
Professor Segal has obviously done a lot of research to write this book, and others have pointed out many of it's good points, so I'll stick to saying what others haven't... Read morePublished on September 30, 2010 by Saeed Kauser
I spotted this book by accident in the library while looking for another book on the afterlife. Then I bought it from Amazon because I could see it was a serious academic... Read morePublished on July 25, 2010 by L. G. Hancock
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