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Lecture

RELIGST 2M03 Lecture Notes - Funeral Director, Antiseptic

1 Page
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Winter 2012

Department
Religious Studies
Course Code
RELIGST 2M03
Professor
Sherry Smith

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Film Notes: “ Death Rituals
(1998; 25 min. from series “Death: A Personal Understanding”)
A person has died; a village mourns
A community comes together in the ritual of the funeral
Rituals make feeling and faith tangible; drawing them into the physical world
Honoring beliefs, marking loss, giving voice to grief
Linked to ancient chain of human experience
In a moment of crisis rituals tell us that we are not alone
Rituals for the dead body reveal our fears about death
What do we do with the body that is honourable and appropriate? Do we burn it? Bury it deep?
Does the body need to be intact? Every society does something
Cremation – fire takes over “weak” body; purifies, cleanses
Embalming masks rather than confirms reality of death; makes it seem almost pleasant; body
made to look asleep
Ron Grimes: offers personal account; expresses need for ritual that is meaningful
Find unity again after loss
Celebration of the deceased’s life
Memorialization of one’s loved ones
“generic funeral”
Touching, kissing, holding the body
Use of objects associated with the deceased offered to coffin, grave
Planting trees – life affirmation
Interview with funeral director – families have all kinds of requests and preferences
Q. What did woman suffering from cancer say she wanted in her service and why?
Grimes: emotions contained, antiseptic…
Shock of grief subsides with familiarity
Vietnam vet
Rituals of death can help when grief is bewildering, loss seems too great to bear; link us to
continuity and to those who grieve with us;
Help us to face that which we find hard to comprehend;
Ground us in the physical world, yet also manifest our spiritual beliefs.

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Description
Film Notes: “Death Rituals” (1998; 25 min. from series “Death: A Personal Understanding”) A person has died; a village mourns A community comes together in the ritual of the funeral Rituals make feeling and faith tangible; drawing them into the physical world Honoring beliefs, marking loss, giving voice to grief Linked to ancient chain of human experience In a moment of crisis rituals tell us that we are not alone Rituals for the dead body reveal our fears about death What do we do with the body that is honourable and appropriate? Do we burn it? Bury it deep? Does the body need to be intact? Every society does something Cremation – fire takes over “weak” body; purifies, cleanses Embalming masks rather than confirms reality of death; makes it seem almost pleasant; body made to look asleep Ron Grimes: offers personal accoun
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