9780807046722 / 0807046728

The Buried Soul: How Humans Invented Death


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Publisher:Beacon Press, 2004



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About the book:

A groundbreaking investigation of the human soul that encompasses vampirism, cannibalism, near-death experiences, and modern-day human sacrifice.

“I never would have thought that archaeology would be so interesting, so relevant to how we think today . . . and so disturbing. In The Buried Soul, Timothy Taylor tells a provocative and often grisly tale. This is a fascinating book, grippingly written, of considerable scope and ambition. —Paul Bloom, professor of psychology, Yale University

Archaeologist Timothy Taylor has spent his life sifting through the relics of our ancestors encounters with death: early historical accounts of sacrifice, ancient rituals with echoes in the present, monumental sarcophagi, and bodies discovered in caves, in bogs, and on mountains.

In The Buried Soul, Taylor presents evidence of how the ancients saw their universe and asks how we came to have not only a sense of the afterlife but also an image of the soul. After we began to speak but before we could write, Taylor suggests that early humans, in an astonishing conceptual leap, separated the body from the spirit that animated it. Thus arose a series of rituals that attempted to placate, tempt, scapegoat, destroy, or contain this potentially malevolent spirit.

In the tradition of the best-selling Stiffed, The Buried Soul is a worldwide exploration of the rites and rituals of death. Taylors search spans all of human history and interweaves the authors own experience of bewildering deaths. By combining cutting-edge science, personal insight, and scholarship, The Buried Soul is a radical voyage into sepulchral worlds.

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