Thursday, October 26, 2006

New Book on Afterlife

As most of you know, I'm giving a talk on the Hereafter at the upcoming SBL meetings. Thus, I was excited to see the recent RBL review of a new book: L’homme face à la mort au royaume de Juda: Rites, pratiques et représentations, by Hélene Nutkowicz (click here for the PDF file). I had a series of posts on this topic very recently on this blog (e.g., click here).

The review of the book is rather favorable, as you will see. It mentions that N. gives a fairly comprehensive discussion of the Afterlife, including a discussion of the nature of Sheol, the land of darkness and silence, the voyage to get there, and the condition and mood of its occupants. Nutkowicz suggests that the Hebrew people believed in amortality. At first glance, it seems to me that this might be a helpful term, since it stresses that the soul does survive death, but it does not view death as positive or beatific as might be implied by the term "immortality."

N. also discusses the relationships between the living and the dead, the repa’im, the ’elohim, the practice of necromancy, the duties toward the dead and toward the living, inscriptions, and the cult of the dead and of the ancestors.

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