In this Book

Preaching Death
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summary

Christians traditionally have had something substantive and important to say about death and afterlife.  Yet the language and imagery used in sermons about life and death have given way to language designed to comfort and celebrate.

In Preaching Death, Lucy Bregman tracks the changes in Protestant American funerals over the last one hundred years. Early-twentieth-century"natural immortality"doctrinal funeral sermons transitioned to an era of"silence and denial,"eventually becoming expressive, biographical tributes to the deceased. The contemporary death awareness movement, with the"death as a natural event"perspective, has widely impacted American culture, affecting health care, education, and psychotherapy and creating new professions such as hospice nurse and grief counselor.  Bregman questions whether this transition—which occurred unobserved and without conflict—was inevitable and what alternative paths could have been chosen. In tracing this unique story, she reveals how Americans' comprehension of death shifted in the last century—and why we must find ways to move beyond it.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
  2. pp. 1-3
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  1. Title Page, Copyright
  2. pp. 4-5
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  1. Table of Contents
  2. pp. v-vi
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  1. Acknowledgments
  2. pp. vii-9
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  1. Part I What Christians Used to Say about Death
  2. pp. 10-11
  1. 1 A Changeover of Messagesand Images
  2. pp. 3-16
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  1. 2 What Is a Christian Funeral?
  2. pp. 17-29
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  1. 3 Funeral Theologies of Death
  2. pp. 31-46
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  1. 4 Heaven as Home
  2. pp. 47-60
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  1. 5 Heaven as Journey
  2. pp. 61-73
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  1. 6 Natural Immortality
  2. pp. 75-87
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  1. 7 The Lord’s Will
  2. pp. 89-103
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  1. Part II The Age of Silence and Denial
  2. pp. 114-115
  1. 8 “Please Omit Funeral”
  2. pp. 107-118
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  1. 9 The Challenge of New Theologies
  2. pp. 119-132
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  1. 10 Death as Enemy
  2. pp. 133-147
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  1. Part III What Came Next
  2. pp. 158-159
  1. 11 New Words for Death, Dying,and Grief
  2. pp. 151-166
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  1. 12 The Triumph of the Biographical
  2. pp. 167-179
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  1. Part IV What Might Have Been
  2. pp. 190-191
  1. 13 Two Alternatives
  2. pp. 183-195
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  1. 14 What Might Have Been—Lament
  2. pp. 197-210
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  1. 15 The Eclipse of Poetry
  2. pp. 211-223
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  1. Part V Conclusion
  2. pp. 234-235
  1. 16 What Christians No Longer Want to Say about Death
  2. pp. 227-237
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  1. Bibliography
  2. pp. 239-245
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  1. Index
  2. pp. 247-255
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