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I Deal Death and Give Life


Biblical Perspectives on Death


Is death the end of the human journey, or is there continuity after death? What happens to body and soul after death? Were Israelites worshiping the dead? What is the source of mourning practices? This book explores this multifaceted topic as related in the Bible.
Publisher: Gorgias Press LLC
Availability: In stock
SKU (ISBN): 978-1-60724-328-1
  • *
Publication Status: In Print

Publication Date: Jan 9,2010
Interior Color: Black
Trim Size: 6 x 9
Page Count: 481
Language: English
ISBN: 978-1-60724-328-1
$166.25
$99.75

Is death really the final station of the human journey, from which there is no return, or does the Bible allude to some form of continuity after death? Why must human beings die? Is there any meaning to the diverse forms of death, natural or unnatural to which a person succumbs? According to the Bible the dead go down to Sheol, the underworld. Do both the righteous and the wicked inhabit the underworld? Do the dead know what is happening in the world of the living? Are there any allusions in the Bible regarding the survival of the soul after death? A series of questions are raised related to the cult of the dead: Did people consult with the dead, and how? Is there any evidence in the Bible of sacrifices to the dead? The Bible mentions mourning customs—are these related to the cult of the dead? Finally, the resurrection of the dead is explored. The consensus among scholars is that Daniel 12:2–3, refers to the resurrection of the dead. The question is whether biblical texts before the 2nd century BCE allude to this doctrine. The phrase “resurrection of the dead” never appears in the Bible; but does in the Mishnah and in the Babylonian Talmud. Does the Bible view death as final? Or does it uphold a belief in resurrection? The fact that the Lord kills and then gives (back) life is an indication of his power to alter the condition of the dead and restore them to life.

Shaul Bar is the Associate Professor of Judaic Studies at the University of Memphis where he teaches at the Bornblum Judaic studies. He received his PhD in Near Eastern Languages and Literature from New York University. He is the author of “A Letter that has not been Read: Dreams in the Hebrew Bible.” HUC Press 2001.

Is death really the final station of the human journey, from which there is no return, or does the Bible allude to some form of continuity after death? Why must human beings die? Is there any meaning to the diverse forms of death, natural or unnatural to which a person succumbs? According to the Bible the dead go down to Sheol, the underworld. Do both the righteous and the wicked inhabit the underworld? Do the dead know what is happening in the world of the living? Are there any allusions in the Bible regarding the survival of the soul after death? A series of questions are raised related to the cult of the dead: Did people consult with the dead, and how? Is there any evidence in the Bible of sacrifices to the dead? The Bible mentions mourning customs—are these related to the cult of the dead? Finally, the resurrection of the dead is explored. The consensus among scholars is that Daniel 12:2–3, refers to the resurrection of the dead. The question is whether biblical texts before the 2nd century BCE allude to this doctrine. The phrase “resurrection of the dead” never appears in the Bible; but does in the Mishnah and in the Babylonian Talmud. Does the Bible view death as final? Or does it uphold a belief in resurrection? The fact that the Lord kills and then gives (back) life is an indication of his power to alter the condition of the dead and restore them to life.

Shaul Bar is the Associate Professor of Judaic Studies at the University of Memphis where he teaches at the Bornblum Judaic studies. He received his PhD in Near Eastern Languages and Literature from New York University. He is the author of “A Letter that has not been Read: Dreams in the Hebrew Bible.” HUC Press 2001.

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Contributor Biography

Shaul Bar

Shaul Bar is the Associate Professor of Judaic Studies at the University of Memphis where he teaches at the Bornblum Judaic studies. He received his PhD in Near Eastern Languages and Literature from New York University. He is the author of “A Letter that has not been Read: Dreams in the Hebrew Bible.” HUC Press 2001.

Lenn Schramm

  • Table of Contents (page 9)
  • Acknowledgements (page 15)
  • Abbreviations (page 17)
  • Introduction (page 23)
  • Why Do We Die? (page 29)
    • “You Are Dust, and to Dust You Shall Return” (Gen. 3:19) (page 31)
    • Death and the Sin of Eating the Forbidden Fruit (page 36)
      • “You shall surely die” (Gen.2:17) (page 36)
      • “In the day that you eat of it” (Gen. 2:17) (page 37)
      • The punishment for eating from the tree of knowledge (page 39)
      • The Tree of Life (page 42)
    • Original Sin (page 46)
    • Death as an Autonomous Force (page 53)
      • Jeremiah 9:20 (page 55)
      • Messengers of Death (page 56)
      • A Cruel Messenger (page 57)
      • Qetev (page 58)
      • Reshef (page 61)
      • “Death’s first-born” (page 68)
      • 'Aluqah (page 73)
      • “Those who bring death” (page 75)
      • Mašhit (page 76)
    • Conclusion (page 82)
  • The Manner of Death (page 85)
    • War (page 86)
    • The Forms of Judicial Execution (page 92)
      • Stoning (seqillah) Violations of Divine Law (page 93)
      • Stoning as the Punishment for Social Transgressions (page 97)
      • The Procedure (page 101)
      • Hanging (or Impaling) (teliyyah) (page 103)
      • Impaling (hoqa'ah) (page 107)
      • Burning (page 111)
      • Burning the Bones of the Dead (page 114)
      • Strangulation (page 116)
    • The Sword (page 117)
    • Excision (Karet) (page 120)
    • Maggefah 'Plague' (page 124)
      • 'Ofalim/tehorim ‘ulcers(?), tumors(?), hemorrhoids(?)’ (page 127)
      • Holi, mahalah ‘disease’ (page 133)
    • The Curse of Nonburial (page 137)
    • Conclusion (page 141)
  • The Underworld (page 143)
    • The Etymology of Sheol (page 144)
    • Descriptions of Sheol (page 146)
      • Location (page 146)
      • The Entrance to the Underworld (page 149)
      • The Underworld as a Place of No Return (page 151)
      • Dust (page 152)
      • Water (page 154)
      • Who Descends to the Underworld? (page 157)
      • The Dead in the Underworld (page 161)
      • Do the Dead Know the Living? (page 165)
      • An Entreaty that the Lord Deliver the Believer from the Underworld (page 169)
      • The Gods of the Underworld (page 174)
      • Sheol as the Grave (page 177)
    • Refa'im (page 181)
      • Refa'im 'Shades' (page 182)
      • Refa'im 'Giants' (page 187)
      • Summary (page 189)
    • Other Names for Sheol (page 190)
      • 'Eres (page 190)
      • Bor ‘Pit’ (page 192)
      • Šahat ‘Pit’ (page 193)
      • Tit ha-yawen (page 196)
      • Abaddon ('avaddon) (page 197)
      • Salmawet (page 198)
      • Summary (page 202)
    • Conclusion (page 202)
  • Nefeš, Nešamah, and Ruah (page 205)
    • Nešamah (page 206)
      • The Vital Force (page 206)
      • The Nešamah and the Living Body (page 209)
      • The Departure of the Nešamah (page 210)
      • The Nešamah of Man (page 211)
      • The Nešamah of God (page 213)
      • Summary (page 213)
    • Nefeš (page 214)
      • Nefeš as the Vital Force (page 217)
      • The Nefeš of the Dead (page 219)
      • Blood is the Nefeš (page 220)
      • The Departure of the Nefeš (page 221)
      • The Survival of the Nefeš (page 224)
    • Ruah ‘Wind, Spirit’ (page 227)
      • The Ruah as the Vital Force (page 230)
      • The Departure of the Ruah (page 234)
      • Summary (page 238)
    • Body and Soul (page 240)
      • The Immortality of the Soul (page 250)
      • The Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha (page 257)
    • Conclusion (page 263)
  • Necromancy (page 265)
    • Mediums and Wizards (`Ovot Ve-yidde'onim) (page 266)
      • Medium (page 266)
      • Spirits of the Dead (page 268)
      • A technical device (page 271)
      • A pit (page 272)
      • Images of the dead (page 274)
      • A wine skin (page 274)
      • 'Ittim (page 276)
      • Inquiring of the Dead (page 277)
      • The Prohibition of Necromancy (page 280)
      • Teraphim (page 283)
    • Sacrifices for the Dead (page 287)
      • Ba'al Pe'or (page 289)
      • Family Sacrifice (page 292)
      • "You Shall Not Eat with the Blood" (page 296)
    • Molech (page 300)
      • Other Passages that Refer to the Molech Cult (page 306)
      • Isaiah 57:3…10 (page 306)
      • Ezekiel 16:20…21 (page 309)
      • Psalms 106:37…39 (page 311)
      • Saul and the "Witch of Endor" (page 312)
    • Saul and the "Witch of Endor" (page 312)
    • Conclusion (page 320)
  • Mourning Customs (page 323)
    • Burial (page 323)
      • Making a Bonfire (page 330)
      • Cremation (page 331)
      • Qinah 'Dirge' (page 334)
      • Misped 'Mourning, Lament, Eulogy' (page 338)
    • The Impurity of the Dead (page 342)
      • The High Priest (page 345)
      • The Nazirite (page 346)
    • Rituals to Eliminate the Impurity of Death (page 348)
      • The Red Heifer (page 348)
      • The Decapitated Heifer (page 351)
      • Summary (page 354)
    • Mourning Customs (page 354)
      • Limits on Mourning Customs (page 368)
      • Restrictions on Mourning by Priests (page 373)
    • The Beit Marzeah (page 375)
    • Conclusion (page 381)
  • The Resurrection of the Dead (page 383)
    • Biblical Passages (page 384)
      • "I deal death and give life" (Deut 32:9) (page 384)
      • Daniel 12:2…3 (page 387)
      • Hosea 6:1…2 (page 390)
      • Isaiah 26:19 (page 393)
      • Isaiah 53:8 (page 396)
      • Psalms 49:16; 73:23…24 (page 397)
      • Rejection of the Doctrine of Resurrection (page 404)
    • Ascent to the Heaven (page 406)
      • Enoch (page 407)
      • Elijah (page 411)
    • Resurrection Or Healing? (page 413)
      • Elisha (page 414)
      • Elijah (page 417)
      • Summary (page 421)
    • The Apocrypha (page 423)
      • Enoch (page 423)
      • Ben Sira (page 424)
      • Esdras (page 424)
      • Baruch (page 425)
      • Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs (page 426)
      • Sibylline Oracles (page 427)
      • Testament of Job (page 427)
      • Psalms of Solomon (page 428)
    • Second Temple Judaism (page 429)
      • 2 Maccabees (page 429)
      • 4 Maccabees (page 430)
      • Josephus (page 430)
      • Qumran (page 432)
      • The Talmudic Sages (page 436)
    • The Talmudic Sages (page 436)
      • Conclusion (page 442)
  • Conclusion (page 445)
  • Bibliography (page 449)
  • Index (page 481)