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A History of Death in the Hebrew Bible$
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Matthew Suriano

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780190844738

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190844738.001.0001

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The Invisible Tomb

(p.249) Epilogue
A History of Death in the Hebrew Bible

Matthew Suriano

Oxford University Press

History in the Hebrew Bible was a crowded tomb filled with the bones of ancestors. But the embodiment of the afterlife in biblical literature served a greater purpose. In the Hebrew Bible and in Judaism the ancestors and their histories continue to serve as charters for living communities. The memories of the dead were blessings, and the biblical stories of their burial and of the preservation of their bones served as invisible tombs. In this manner, the collective association of the dead effectively embodied an afterlife ideal in the form of the ancestors.

Keywords:   death, burial, afterlife (biblical), Hebrew Bible/Old Testament, kingdom of Judah, early Judaism, Second Temple period, archaeology of Israel, mortuary practices

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