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SOC250Y1 (69)

Lecture Feb 1/2012

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Joseph Bryant

Soc Religion Lecture Wed Feb 12012 NOTES on the Social Genesis of Hell and Heaven HELLa divinely or cosmically sanctioned place of tormenteither temporary or eternalfor wrongdoers the unrighteous nonbelievers etc A scare tactic for social controlCf Kritias of Athens A symbolic projection of human despair alienationCf Feuerbachprojection Shakespeares Hamlet The dread of something after death the undiscovered country from whose bourn no traveller returns puzzles the will Sartres No Exit 1944 Hell is other ppl The meaning problem of deatha terminus or a transition We are an animal that contemplates our own pending demisedeath anxiety is a deep current in the history of our speciesour strong sense of selfhood renders our personal fates of urgent concern death invariably raises speculative interests All known societies and cultures establish complex social arrangements for dealing with death and for removing its potentially destabilizing consequences Neanderthal burial practicesubiquity for the dead food offerings interment with wordly possessionscremation and collection of bonesrituals and ceremonies for the deceasedfunerary inscriptionsancestor cults Death is central to LifeDeath in the Early CivilizationsNetherworld or Underworldthe deceased pass below to a dark dusty place and participate in some form of ghostly quasiexistence or halflife as shades phantoms Life on earth is vastly superior the true or real lifedeath is therefore lamented Below is commonly described asthe land from which no one has ever returnedwhere the Sun goes down Gilgamesh Epic tablet 7the house wherein the dwellers are bereft of light where dust si their fare and clay is their food Sumerian goddess of sex fertility and warInannaIshtardescends into Netherworldto the house which those who enter cannot leavewhere those who arrive are deprived of light where mould is their food dust their breadPassing 7 gates and losing clothing and jewellery at each
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