Funerary Customs and Religious Practices in the Ancient Near East

  • Nicola LaneriEmail author
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DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-51726-1_3257-2

The death of an individual represents a moment of tragic and unexplainable loss for the members of a community that reveals the need and consequent desire to create beliefs about the existence of an afterlife. For numerous scholars this aspect of human life represents the beginning of a long-term evolutionary process that generated the development of forms of religiosity, dating back to the earliest members of the human species.

In general, the evolutionary approach that was developed by nineteenth-century Victorian anthropologists connects the belief that when an individual dies, a nonphysical soul departs from the physical body to the beginning of religious phenomena (i.e., animism), which is the basis from which more complex forms of religious beliefs developed over time. According to Tylor’s seminal perspective, among “primitive cultures” it is possible to distinguish between a more basic and general belief in the soul of the deceased that serves the purpose of a “continued...

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for the Ancient Mediterranean and Near Eastern StudiesFlorenceItaly

Section editors and affiliations

  • Alison Gascoigne
    • 1
  1. 1.Archaeology, University of SouthamptonHighfieldUK