This introductory chapter situates death and the afterlife as a springboard for an inquiry into how cultural attitudes shifted, diverged, and overlapped through varying contexts and social strata. It puts together universalizing discourses such as theology and medicine in order to cast light upon the multiplicity of cultural traditions in the Middle Ages and their conceptualizations of the human. During the Middle Ages, the most systematic articulation of a thanatology (“the science of death”) was that of formal Christian theology. In doctrinal terms, the body awaited resurrection even as it decayed. The chapter discusses the fact that medieval ways of imagining postmortem existence preserve an afterlife of paganism, long after the pagan religions of Europe was supplanted by Christianity.
Cornell Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.
If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.
To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.