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Death and the Afterlife: A Cultural Encyclopedia
Publisher: ABC-CLIO | ISBN: 0874369398 | edition 2000 | PDF | 438 pages | 1,73 mb

Taylor teaches courses at Berkeley on burial and afterlife and has previously published on Hinduism and ancient religions. The only obvious competitors to his first reference work are the Encyclopedia of Death, edited by Robert and Beatrice Kastenbaum (1989. o.p.) and James R. Lewis's Encyclopedia of Afterlife Beliefs and Phenomena (Gale, 1994. o.p.). The Kastenbaum volume asks, "What would one expect in an encyclopedia about death?," but its coverage of topics such as funerals is not very detailed regarding specific traditions. Lewis's work leans toward spiritualism, psychic phenomena, and the occult. Taylor's, on the other hand, is concerned with customs and beliefs relating to death and burial in a number of broad cultural contexts and groupings. The clear, well-written articles cover most major religious and cultural traditions from prehistoric to modern without being overly simplistic. However, some gaps should be corrected in future editions. In the article on burial shrouds, for instance, Taylor does not mention their use in Islam, Sihkism, and the Bah '! faith; there are no articles on the funerary customs of the Sikhs and the Bah '!s; and the entries on resurrection are titled in the form "Resurrection [Religion]," but there is no cross reference to the entry "Qiyama" from the entry "Resurrection, Muslim." All the same, these considerations do not undermine the broad value of this encyclopedia, which will be highly useful in academic, public, and theological libraries as a complement to the other two works mentioned.DWilliam P. Collins, Library of Congress

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