The Afterlife Embodied
The complicated imagery of death in the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament has defied scholars because it does not involve an afterlife dichotomy of heaven and hell. The individual is not vetted after death, to be sent to punishment or paradise; instead postmortem experience is collective. This ideal afterlife is centered upon the tomb where the dead join their ancestors. Therefore, it is necessary to examine the afterlife in the Hebrew Bible according to its own terms. This can be done through the analysis of mortuary practices from Judah during the Iron Age. A review of the archaeology of mortuary practices, along with theoretical discussions of the body, will establish the framework for studying death in the Hebrew Bible. In biblical literature and ancient Judah postmortem existence was predicated upon the treatment of the body.
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