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The Living and the Dead
Social Dimensions of Death in South Asian Religions
The Living and the Dead
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Liz Wilson - Editor
SUNY series in Hindu Studies
Price: $68.50 
Hardcover - 224 pages
Release Date: September 2003
ISBN10: 0-7914-5677-3
ISBN13: 978-0-7914-5677-4

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Price: $31.95 
Paperback - 224 pages
Release Date: September 2003
ISBN10: 0-7914-5678-1
ISBN13: 978-0-7914-5678-1

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Summary Read First Chapter image missing

Explores the social treatment of death in South Asian religions, including Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, and other traditions. Includes material on women and marginalized groups.

This collection examines the social dimensions of death in South Asian religions, exploring the ritualized exchanges between the living and the dead performed by Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims, and other religious groups. Using ethnographic and historical tools associated with the comparative and historical study of religion, the contributors also record the voices and actions of marginalized groups—such as tribal peoples, women, and members of lower castes—who are often underrepresented in studies of South Asian deathways, which typically focus on the writings and practices of elite groups. For many religious people, death entails a journey leading to some new condition or place. As the ultimate experience of passage, it is highly ceremonial and ritualized, and those beliefs and practices associated with the moment of death itself—death-bed ceremonies, funerary rites, and rituals of mourning and of remembering—are examined here. The Living and the Dead offers historical depth, ethnographic detail, and conceptual clarity on a subject that is of immense importance in South Asian religious traditions.

“This volume would be very good in graduate seminars; not only are the articles all excellent but the different approaches—textual, historical, religious studies, and anthropological—should provide ample opportunity for profitable discussion.” — Religious Studies Review

“Each of the papers is an important contribution to the study of South Asian ideas and practices concerning the dead and society’s relations with them.” — Royal Asiatic Society

"The interdisciplinary range of the essays in this volume presents a novel look at South Asian funerary practices. By using death as the only criteria for inclusion in the work, new relationships between disparate historical moments and distinct religious traditions become apparent. Original and compelling." — Robert DeCaroli, George Mason University

Contributors include Peter Gottschalk, David M. Knipe, Isabelle Nabokov, Gregory Schopen, Jonathan S. Walters, David Gordon White, Liz Wilson, and Richard K. Wolf.

Liz Wilson is Professor of Comparative Religion at Miami University and the author of Charming Cadavers: Horrific Figurations of the Feminine in Indian Buddhist Hagiographic Literature.


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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations

Acknowledgments

Note on Transliteration and Transcription

Introduction: Passing On: The Social Life of Death in South Asian Religions
Liz Wilson

1. Ashes to Nectar: Death and Regeneration among the Rasa Siddhas and Nath Siddhas
David Gordon White

2. Human Torches of Enlightenment: Autocremation and Spontaneous Combustion as Marks of Sanctity in South Asian Buddhism
Liz Wilson

3. When a Wife Dies First: The Musivayanam and a Female Brahman Ritualist in Coastal Andhra
David M. Knipe

4. Return to Tears: Musical Mourning, Emotion, and Religious Reform in Two South Asian Minority Communities
Richard K. Wolf

5. Deanimating and Reanimating the Dead in Rural Sri Lanka
Jonathan S. Walters

6. The Suppression of Nuns and the Ritual Murder of Their Special Dead in Two Buddhist Monastic Texts
Gregory Schopen

7. A Funeral to Part with the Living: A Tamil Countersorcery Ritual
Isabelle Nabokov

8. Dead Healers and Living Identities: Narratives of a Hindu Ghost and a Muslim Sufi in a Shared Village
Peter Gottschalk

List of Contributors

Index



Related Subjects
41514/41515(NE/DG/AV)

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