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CARLETON UNIVERSITY / Religion / RELI 2732 / Ancient religions refer to what?

Ancient religions refer to what?

Ancient religions refer to what?


School: Carleton University
Department: Religion
Course: Death and The Afterlife
Professor: Angela sumegi
Term: Spring 2017
Tags: religion, Death, afterlife, and judiasm
Cost: 25
Name: Death and the Afterlife, Week 3
Description: Covers what was talked about in this weeks's lecture (Monday, January 23rd) as well as what topics in Understanding Death Chapter 4.
Uploaded: 01/27/2017
9 Pages 74 Views 12 Unlocks

Dana Foley

Ancient religions refer to what?

RELI 2732: Death and the Afterlife

Prof: Angela Sumegi  

Monday, January 23, 2017: Week 3: Lecture 3

Indonesian Tarija: video we saw last week. Only a very high status person would  have the type of burial that we saw.  

Ancient Religions  

∙ We don’t know much about what early humans thought except for what  archeologists have found in their graves  

Prehistoric Periods  

∙ Neanderthals  

∙ Cro-magnum period  

∙ Neolithic  

Neanderthal Grave  

∙ Ancient people buried their dead  

∙ First to be discovered 1908  

∙ People but food and tools around the grave with the dead  ∙ Idea that they would need these things where they are going  ∙ ***Important- Zagros mountains, Iraq: pollen samples found arranged  around the dead  

What is the meaning of neanderthals?


∙ More protective grave  If you want to learn more check out How has happiness been viewed over time?

∙ Again, with tools and food  

∙ Stone slabs  


∙ Under gave-like tombs and gigantic boulders  

∙ Time that we see the beginning of agriculture and the domestication of  animals

∙ Burials get more complex with animals sacrifices and offerings of food  ∙ Massive change comes with agriculture

∙ Change in how people spent their time and viewed themselves ∙ Hunt represents a more dynamic and religious experience with the animal  ∙ Used to be a lot of rituals to bring the animal to the hunter ∙ Agreement in the animal to be food, so that there is not revenge from the  animal spirit world  

What is cro-magnum period?

∙ It is a negotiation

∙ Agriculture depends on the earth to be fertile, this is where the belief in  mother earth comes in  Don't forget about the age old question of What is mass communication?

∙ Mother goddess  

∙ Comes the theme of rebirth and renewal  

∙ Growth of agriculture also leads to population growth and more systematic society  

∙ Many sophisticated systems of organization that followed agriculture  ∙ Larger political units develop  

∙ Populations develop along rivers  


∙ Shaman marries the daughter of the animal spirits  

∙ Then there is a dominant relation of the female animal’s spirit  ∙ And therefore, the hunters have dominance over the animals  ∙ Return  We also discuss several other topics like What are a systematic method to answer questions and a process of using observations and experiments to draw evidence-based conclusions?

∙ Shaman must go into the forest upon death and offer themselves as food  

Shaman of Trois Freres  

∙ Interpreted as a shaman performing ritual to ensure a good hunt  

Ancient Empires  

∙ Envisioned a universe of order  

∙ This is what the farmers depended on: rain during the rainy season, sun  during the sunny season  


∙ Through stories we can find all the links that bring the religions together  ∙ They belong to us as humans We also discuss several other topics like What is a praetorian guard?

∙ Not the property of one religions or culture  

∙ They are common human heritage  

∙ All shared the idea of the divine king

∙ Ruler was crucial link between heaven and earth  

∙ Polytheism: belief and worship of many gods  

∙ Each tribe comes with its own tribal gods

∙ Eventually there was just two kingdoms

∙ Lower Egypt and upper Egypt  

∙ Around 3,000 BCE these two kingdoms were brought together into the first Egyptian dynasty  

∙ Double crown represented the rule over these two areas  If you want to learn more check out What do you mean by transmission model?


∙ Sun god: Horus, pharaoh was representing as him. Many other forms of  the sun god. Morning sun, afternoon sun…

∙ Son of Ra:

∙ Scarab: represented the rising sun, the dung beetle  

∙ Ibis: heron, representing the god of ibis  

∙ gods often depicted as humans with animal heads  

∙ we can see in these figures the much more ancient idea that animals have spirit power  

Egyptian View of Creation  

∙ begins with nun, nothing but water  

∙ Atom-god of the setting sun  

∙ Shu-god of air and Tufnut-life giving moisture  We also discuss several other topics like Which elements are pure elements?

∙ nut- sky goddess

∙ Geb-god of the earth  

∙ father Shu, keeps nut and Geb apart  

∙ Thot played checkers with the moon god to try and get them together  ∙ He won 5 says, 350 +5 = 365  

∙ They developed the first solar calendar  

∙ 5 days were considered says out of time: Epagomenal  

∙ Not conceived and bore her children: Osiris, Isis, Seth, Nepthus  ∙ In Osiris’ story we see the first conception of the resurrection  ∙ Osiris is murdered by Seth out of jealousy  

∙ Osiris becomes god of the underworld  

∙ Not all his pieces are found, his fertile parts are forever lost in the Nile,  which bring the fertility of the land surrounding the Nile  

Four components of the Ancient Egyptian theories of person ∙ Material  

∙ Immaterial souls  

o Ka (spirit double) soul and Ba (leaves after death) soul  

o Statues to house the Ka soul  

o Ba soul was often depicted as a human headed bird  

o Though to fly away at death  

o Also, the soul that wonders around during sleep  

o Though to travel far away from the tomb  

o Passage way and a little exit hole would be constructed in the tomb  o Body was the home for the soul and it needed to remain whole  forever…

o Leads to mummification  


∙ Name of the person  

o Represented the unique personality of the person  

o To be remembered for them to live on  

∙ Shadow or shade  

o Looms around the tomb  

∙ Funerary rituals  

o Opening of the mouth ritual  

o To ensure the ability of person to eat and talk in the next world  o


∙ Whole preserved bodies  

∙ Recognizable human being that lived 1000’s of years ago  ∙ Pyramids were only for the royalty  

∙ Believed that if their bodies could be preserved would be find eternal life  ∙ Organs placed in glass jars and heart left inside the body  ∙ People believed that they thought with the heart  

∙ Brain was useless, and most so it had to be removed through the nose  ∙ They packed the body in salt, then wrapped in linen  

∙ They were buried with all their belongings  

∙ Book of dead taught of the rights that needed to be performed in order for the body to come to life again  

Point to take away  

∙ Life after death meant the life of a busy, sexual, intellectual human being  ∙ It was not spiritualized  

∙ Cremation was for evil doers with no opportunity for life after death  ∙ Each person faced judgement upon death, but it was an opportunity to  continue life with all negativities removed  

∙ Return to a perfect young and healthy person  

∙ Dead has the will to do what they want to do  

Funeral Texts  

∙ Pyramid texts  

o Oldest spells and verses in the chambers inside the pyramids  o The old kingdom  

o Pyramids at Giza  

o Spells carved in the interior walls  

o Dead one is assured that death is allusion  

∙ Coffin texts  

o Emphasis are ongoing to live with the stars and with the sun  o Idea of the afterlife becomes more democratic  

o On the insides and lids of coffins  


o As time goes on the texts are found on the coffins of ordinary  people  

o Anyone who could make the right arrangements for death could  enter the afterlife  

o Emphasis is either on joining Ra or entering the kingdom of Osiris  ∙ Going out into the day  

o Collected spells  

o Available to anyone to be put into the coffin with the deceased  o Came to be known as the Book of the Dead  

o Emphasize judgement in the hall of Osiris and eternal life in the  kingdom of Osiris.  

Death as a return to life  

∙ Osiris: His domain is in the west. Called the field of reeds of the fields of  rushes-Osirian fields.  

∙ Pleasant, fertile place  

∙ The dead were granted a plot of land  

∙ Spent their time tending to the fields just as they had in life  ∙ Daily life in the kingdom of Osiris would be the same as the person always knew, just without any disappointment or imperfections  

∙ Soul had to be pronounced worthy  

∙ Big test was to pass the judgement of Osiris  

∙ In this journey the soul is taken the judgment hall in front of the 42 judges  ∙ Soul must make a confession and give up his heart to be weighed  ∙ It is a negative confession, making sure that Osiris knows that you did not  do anything wrong at all  

∙ Statement of purity and justification of why you should be let in  ∙ Kingdom of Osiris is only for the pure  

∙ The heart is weighed against a feather

∙ Feather represents the goddess Maat: Goddess of righteousness and truth  ∙ If goodness has made your heart light that is good  

∙ If your heart is heavy with sin the soul would be devoured by the crocodile headed Amid  

∙ The Egyptians did not fear death because it was a second chance at life  5

∙ But they were afraid of the second death  

∙ Good afterlife is related to good moral life in the earthly world  ∙ No fear of punishment after death  

∙ The fear was of total annihilation  

Who will do the work?  

∙ What if you were an aristocrat and you never worked in your life… ∙ Shabti -Led to the development of the statues of servants who would do  the work for you in the afterlife  


∙ 2000 identified deities  

∙ Between Tigris and Euphrates

∙ Mesopotamia was much more open to attack and invasion that Egypt  ∙ Many people interested in taking over it because it was a beautiful and  fertile land  

∙ Life would have been full of danger for people living here  ∙ Different cities coming together, but fought for supremacy of relgion and  beliefs  


∙ Female goddess  


∙ Ruler of the gods,

∙ creating the world and humans  

∙ Representing order  


∙ Often represented as a dragon  

∙ Representing primal chaos  

Human Creation  

∙ Man, is said to be created form the mixture of a sacrificed god and clay  ∙ Mixture of spirit and matter (this belief occurs in many cultures)  ∙ Upon death, the person becomes bones and ghost  

Why the discrepancy?  

∙ Why are all cultures so different in their beliefs and focuses? ∙ Mesopotamian view: Life is where all pleasure/meaning comes from


∙ Ghost- person full of life that continues, ghost can be harmful or  malevolent if the rituals were not carried out properly  

∙ Place of ghosts is the underworld  

∙ Serves the gods of the underworld  

∙ This was fate of everyone. Everyone went to the underworld


∙ In search of Immortality  

∙ On his travels, he stops at an inn, and he told by a barmaid that joy comes from life. Basically, eat drink and be marry because tomorrow that you  might die  

∙ From ancient Mesopotamian mindset, death is the end of life  ∙ Life is where everything took place  

Death and the Afterlife: Chapter 4 (Jewish Perspectives  on Death)  

∙ Abraham enters a convenient with god in which he swears to worship god  alone and obey his commandments

∙ God promises Abraham lots of descendants and a home land; Canaan.  ∙ After a few generations of rulers, the Jews made their way to Egypt where  they lived in peace for many years  

∙ But then an oppressive Pharaoh came into rule, and the Israelites escaped to the desert of the Sanai Peninsula; Exodus  

∙ They finally made their way back to Canaan  

∙ The Israelites made no depictions of their god  

∙ They believed they were the people chosen by God  

∙ They came to know God as Yahweh  

∙ Holocaust was thought of as a cosmic threat because it endangered the  relationship of god and humanity in the covenant.  

The Beginning of Death  

∙ Upon death, the life-breath (Nefesh) leaves from the body  ∙ The story of Adam and Eve  

∙ They were tricked by the devil into disobeying god  

∙ God gave them knowledge and exiled them from the garden  ∙ The “breath of life” is God’s breath  

The Soul and Sheol  


∙ Person is a combination of body and animated breath  

∙ The person does not possess a soul but is a soul  

∙ Dead person becomes a shade/ghost/spirit that dwells in the land of the  dead

∙ Death was called Mot, who ruled the underworld (sheol)  

∙ Place of neither punishment or reward, regardless of their status in life  ∙ God is associated with the upper world of sky  

∙ Humans dwell in the middle world of earth  

∙ Underworld of the dead is entirely disconnected from God and men  ∙ The bible refers to another abode of the dead called Gehenna  ∙ Gehenna becomes the idea of hell  

∙ Dead are condemned to burn for all of eternity

∙ Bible also speaks of death as a peaceful rest belonging to the natural  order of things  

∙ Eschatology is the religious study and thought related to notions of the  end of time, the end of human history  

∙ Israelites did not assume and “end”  

Resurrection and the World to Come  

∙ Idea of life forever with god, once introduced, would not lose its appeal  ∙ Sadducees: rich people who didn’t need to believe in resurrection because they already had everything they needed in this world  

∙ Pharisees: class of scribes and craftsmen known for their righteousness,  simple lifestyle, and knowledges of the mosaic law  

The Journey of the Soul  

∙ Greek philosophical ideas had a profound impact on Jewish thought  ∙ But unlike, Greeks the Jews could not disparage of the body that was  created by God  

∙ The Pharisees appeared to have combined the idea of a personal soul and  a personal salvation with the doctrine of communal resurrection including  the belief that the wicked and good souls are separated  

∙ Each experience either reward or punishment  

∙ Way of the Kabbalah; an ancient mystical tradition characteristic of the  teachings of Hasidic sects  

∙ Hasidism; founded in the 118th century by a Rabi known as the Baal-Shem  Tov- The Master of the Good Name  

∙ Rabbi Isaac Luria-founder of the Lurianic Kabbalah  

∙ Gilgul- the belief in the pre-existence of souls and their reincarnation  through many lives  

∙ Two aspect of God: Infinite and Finite, became divided from each other  8

∙ Every soul has numerous opportunities through reincarnation to  participate in the process of cosmic healing by developing spiritually,  following God’s commandments and eventually reaching a state of perfect wholeness in Union with God  

Rituals of Departure  

∙ Burial customs differ among different Jewish communities around the  world  

∙ Greeks culture welcomes death because it releases the soul ∙ Even in death the body is to be respected and honored  

∙ Respect underlies many burial practices  

∙ Burial is the traditional way of disposing of the body  

∙ Upon death, the eyes and mouth are covered with a sheet by children,  close family, or friends  

∙ Body is then attended to by members of the same sex  

∙ Body is buried in a plain wooden coffin so it can be returned easily to the  earth for decomposition  

∙ In Israeli burial traditions, the body would be places on a board and  covered on cloth to be buried  

∙ Family must wash their hands for purification after touching the dead,  another ritual  

∙ They then return home to have a mean prepared by the community  ∙ Thus, commences the first period of mourning  

∙ Keri’ah- the rendering of garments as a sign of grief  

∙ Worn for a 7-day mourning period: Shiva  

∙ In this period, they can’t shave, have sex, work, bathe, change clothing, or wear leather  

∙ It is customary to cover all the mirrors  

∙ There is a secondary mourning period for 30 days, time when people can  go back to work but can’t go to any type of celebration and they can’t  wear new clothes  

∙ For parents the mourning period continues for 12 months  ∙ For the parent the garments are torn on the left side over the heart  


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