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A History of Death in the Hebrew Bible - Oxford Scholarship Online
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A History of Death in the Hebrew Bible

Matthew Suriano


In the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament, a good death meant burial inside the family tomb, where one would join one’s ancestors in death. This was the afterlife in biblical literature; it was a postmortem ideal that did not involve individual judgment or heaven and hell—instead it was collective. In Hebrew scriptures, a postmortem existence was rooted in mortuary practices and conceptualized through the embodiment of the dead. But this idea of the afterlife was not hopeless or fatalistic, consigned to the dreariness of the tomb. The dead were cherished and remembered, their bones were cared for, and ... More

Keywords: death, burial, afterlife (biblical), Hebrew Bible/Old Testament, kingdom of Judah, archaeology of Israel, mortuary practices, ancestors, corpse, the soul

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2018 Print ISBN-13: 9780190844738
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2018 DOI:10.1093/oso/9780190844738.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Matthew Suriano, author
Assistant Professor of Jewish Studies, University of Maryland, College Park