How do we make sense of death - in theology, in philosophy, in experience? How do religions other than Christianity deal with death and with dying? In the now predominantly secular societies of the West, what are we to make of the theologies of death develop by writers such as Becker, Hick, Thielicke and Macquarrie?Ray Anderson tackles his subject with clarity and without sentimentality. He discusses first the treatment - and indeed, the denial - of death by contemporary Western society, and its place in other religious traditions. Going on the discuss the origins of a Christian theology of death, he examines the legacy of Judaism and seeks to lay the foundations for a Christian anthropology in the unity of body and soul. Death, he argues, is alien to God's determination of our personhood. Outlining a classic Christian understanding of death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, he explores the implications of the Passion for our own mortality. Even if the sting of death has been removed, the experiences of dying and bereavement remain.
Ray Anderson considers pastoral approaches to dying in the light of his observations and arguments and makes his case for re-integration of the experience of dying into our communities.
Ray S. Anderson is Professor of Theology and Ministry at Fuller Theological Seminary, California. He is author of Historical Transcendence and the Reality of God and On Being Human.