Death and the Afterlife

Lynne Rudder Baker

in The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Religion

Published in print June 2007 | ISBN: 9780195331356
Published online September 2009 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

 Death and the Afterlife

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Death comes to all creatures, but human beings are unique in realizing that they will die. Hence, they are unique in being able to consider the possibility of life after death. Ideas of an afterlife of one sort or another have been promulgated by all manner of cultures and religions. For ancient peoples, the afterlife was a realm of vastly diminished existence populated by shades, ghostly counterparts of bodies. Ancient Indians and Egyptians before 2000 bce postulated a judgment after death. There are many conceptions of an afterlife. To say that there is an afterlife (of any kind) is to say that biological death is not the permanent end of a human being's existence: At least some people continue to exist and to have experiences after death. The idea of reincarnation is shared by a number of religions, including Hindu, Jaina, and Buddhist.

Keywords: death; afterlife; judgment; human's existence; reincarnation; ancient Indian thought

Article.  11845 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy ; Philosophy of Religion ; Metaphysics

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