Death, Dying, and the Afterlife: Lessons from World Cultures : The Great Courses: Comparative & World Religion

  • by The Great Courses
  • Narrated by Professor Mark Berkson
  • Series: The Great Courses: Comparative & World Religion
  • 12 hrs and 29 mins
  • Lecture

Publisher's Summary

After thousands of years of pondering it, we still find death one of life's most perplexing mysteries. Many cultures view death as a window into the true meaning of life.
These 24 lectures looking at this often feared subject are an uplifting, meaningful, and multidisciplinary exploration of life's only certainty. Bringing together theology, philosophy, biology, anthropology, literature, psychology, sociology, and other fields, they are a brilliant compendium of how human beings have struggled to come to terms with mortality. You'll encounter everything from ancient burial practices, traditional views of the afterlife, and the five stages of grief to the question of killing during wartime, the phenomenon of near-death experiences, and even 21st-century theories about transcending death itself.
With personal and cultural enlightenment as the overarching goal, Professor Berkson provides you with eye-opening answers to several major questions surrounding death, including: How do we think about death? How do religions approach death? When (if ever) is it justified to take a life? You'll also hear a chorus of voices from multiple disciplines, cultures, and ages as they offer sometimes shocking and sometimes refreshing perspectives on death. These voices include the Buddha, St. Paul, Albert Camus, Dylan Thomas, and Elizabeth Kübler-Ross.
"Many religious traditions teach that a form of regular death reflection can deepen one's appreciation for life," Professor Berkson notes. "And in some traditions, it can actually lead to spiritual transformation or awakening. As the poet Rainer Maria Rilke wrote, 'Whoever rightly understands and celebrates death at the same time magnifies life.'"
PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Very informative lectures on death and dying

I was looking for an audio book on the subject of death and dying to inform my practice as I am training to become a bereavement counsellor and I found this great courses book! It explains death from many cultural traditions and talks of issues around suicide and immortality, all of which I found to be very helpful and informative, I can't recommend this book highly enough :)
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- Mary Jackson


I thought this might be a bit of a morbid read but it's actually truly fascinating and life affirming.
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- Nicola Hermitage

Book Details

  • Release Date: 05-02-2016
  • Publisher: The Great Courses