Approaching the Dead

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978-951-9217-73-4
Approaching the Dead. Studies on Mortuary Ritual in the Ancient World
Ed. Anne Katrine de Hemmer Gudme & Kirsi Valkama
Suomen Eksegeettinen Seura
Suomen Eksegeettisen Seuran Julkaisuja 118
s.l. 2020, 179 pp.
The volume Approaching the Dead: Studies on Mortuary Ritual in the Ancient World is about the social interaction of the living with the dead, as reflected in the textual and archaeological records of ancient societies. The authors examine different aspects of mortuary ritual practices, their praxis, pragmatism, palpability, and politics. The examples cover a variety of places and historical periods, from the Late Bronze Age city of Ugarit in modern-day Syria to Late Iron Age Scandinavia. The majority of the studies, however, are focused on mortuary culture in the Levant in the long first millennium BCE.

Even beyond death, the dead play an import part in the lives of the living. The memories of the deceased leave traces in the minds of their fellow humans, in their behavior, the built environment, and material culture. Ironically, these efforts are directed at absent beings – the objects of this intense attention are ultimately dead and gone. Indeed, their departure from this life and the lived reality is the condition that triggers a flurry of activity and responses, a chain of mourning, practices of remembrance, and monumentalizing. Much of this activity can be categorized as mortuary ritual, a diverse set of strategic practices that aim at addressing the death of an individual and negotiating the personal, philosophical, and social challenges that this death creates.

Contributors: professor emerita Diana Edelman (University of Oslo), senior lecturer Dr. Fredrik Ekengren (University of Lund), professor Anne Katrine de Hemmer Gudme (University of Oslo), Dr., docent Raz Kletter (University of Helsinki), Dr. Joanna Töyräänvuori (University of Helsinki), Dr. Kirsi Valkama (University of Helsinki).

“This is a small but interesting and well-designed interdisciplinary collection of seven studies on mortuary practices based on archaeological and textual sources. The evidence is mainly drawn from the ancient Near East, from the Late Bronze through the Roman period, but the volume also includes a contribution discussing a 5th century CE grave in Sweden that fits perfectly with the methodological scope of the collection. The studies consist of illustrative case studies of ancient mortuary practices, which are approached from a variety of theoretical and methodological perspectives and thus serve to update the study of mortuary rituals and practices, especially with regard to theory and source criticism.” –Professor Martti Nissinen, University of Helsinki
More Information
ISBN 978-951-9217-73-4
ISSN 0356-2786
Publisher Suomen Eksegeettinen Seura
Sarja Suomen Eksegeettisen Seuran Julkaisuja
Published (year) 2020
Cover Softcover
Type of Binding Softcover binding
Languages english
Disciplines History, Cultural History, Cultural Studies, Religious Studies
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