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RELIGST 10N: The Good Death

We often discuss what makes a 'good life' - that is a life worth living, a life exemplary of one's values and ideals, a life full of meaning. But what makes a 'good death'? Far from being a topic to avoid, ideas of death - what it means, its variations, how it relates to the preceding life, how it should unfold - are rich topics in religion. For religious people, the question of how life is lived in preparation, anticipation, or ignorance of death is often quite central. So, how do religious people imagine what death is and what lies beyond? What guidance exists for the time of death and its aftermath? How is the body understood in relation to death and beyond - and how is it managed? How do the living coexist with the dead in various forms? How do changing ecological and technological concerns shape death practices in the USA and elsewhere? In this class we will explore conceptions of the good death through a variety of religious traditions and perspectives, looking at issues such as the after/next life, death rituals, burial practices, corpses, the holy dead, martyrs, ghosts and spirit guides, and others.
Last offered: Autumn 2021 | UG Reqs: WAY-A-II, WAY-SI
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