The Christian Humanist Podcast, Episode #87: Death

General Introduction
– Nathan’s snottier than usual
– David goes back to bed
– Listener feedback

Death in the Bible
– A Psalm of Moses
– Daniel speaks out
– Job knows that his redeemer liveth
– Conscious afterlife?
– Christ and Lazarus
– The Bible’s lack of systematic theology

Other Ancient Views
– Nathan plugs N.T. Wright
– Ghost stories and the afterlife
– Bodily resurrection

Medieval Death
– Memento mori
– The dance of death
– Death the great equalizer
– Christ Enthroned
– Bede dies, venerably
– Body, soul, and the resurrection

Post-Christian Death
– The rise of medicine
– All streams leading to one sea
– Public atheism
– Locke’s systematic heaven
– Romantic thanatopsis

Deathly Literature
– A deep cut from Shakespeare
– Caedmon’s death song
– The high points of the Divine Comedy
– The allegory of temptation
– Neighbour Rosicky dies a quasi-Christian death
– Death as catalyst for spiritual action

Death and Existentialism
– Being-in-the-face-of-death
– A case of the death
– Suicide as (no) solution
– Recovering the hermit’s skull
– The obsession of the Christian existentialists

How Should We Respond?
– Bible as death resource
– Learning to die by watching others
– Nathan bites his tongue at the funeral home
– Death is unnatural

7 thoughts on “The Christian Humanist Podcast, Episode #87: Death

  1. Good show (it was sort of an unofficial follow-up to the Heidegger episode) but shame on you guys for not using Led Zeppelin’s version of In My Time Of Dying, SHAME! 🙂

  2. We all know people like it when you get literary, but do they like it when you talk about them liking it when you get literary?
    On experiencing death: My mother died at home under the care of Hospice. this allowed me to spend more than a week to go in her room and pray through Psalms (with the aid of  The Book of Common Prayer) with her. When she was no longer physically able to do so, I still would go and pray them allowed with and for her. On the morning of her death, I continued to pray as she was praying the morning office in Paradise, maybe even with Bede.
    I know not everyone can experience death in such a way, but there are people, like Hospice, in the modern world who are helping sick people and their loved ones experience a better death. I won’t call it good as death is still an enemy to be defeated.

    1. BradWarfield We’ve only got a couple catch-phrases, Brad!  Let us have the ones we’ve got!
      I know that nursing majors at Milligan all did field-hours with Hospice on their way to graduation, and I always thought that was a good thing.  I don’t know whether med-schools mandate the same sorts of field experiences, but I imagine they might benefit from ’em.

  3. Sorry to be late to the party.  It’s been a week.
    For poetry involving death, I’ll go for Shakespeare’s Sonnet 18 (The “shall I compare thee to a summer’s day” one).  I use this one when I teach about one of my favorite theories: Terror Management Theory.  TMT involves the search for meaning in the face of inevitable mortality, and I get a bit literary on my students, and the first line of Sonnet 18 is about the only line that my students know.  They are surprised when I tell them that it’s all about denying death through the Power of Poetry.
    I’ll also throw some love toward Shelley’s “Ozymandias” for a statement of the futility of attempting to deny death.  Time turns all our greatest accomplishments to the lone and level sands. Poe’s “The Conqueror Worm” is also good.

  4. Gents –
    I finally got around to listening to this great episode.   Fascinating discussion and, as usual, I really enjoyed your literary roundup in which you all contributed favorite examples of works dealing with death.  Thanks for the Cather tip – I’ll have to check that story out.  Also, I appreciated the mention of The Death of Ivan Ilyich, which is one of my favorite short Russian works.  The mention of Ivan Ilyich reminded me of a theme that I’ve often wanted to explore with students – and which might make a nice show.  Perhaps you’d entitle it “The Curse of Success” or something similar, and explore the conflicts that arise almost inevitably between the individual, truly good things in his life like family, church, community, etc. – and the pursuit of success in career terms.   In some cases the individual hasn’t a clue that there is such a conflict, and thus loses out in those other arenas, in others he may become so enamored with success and society’s expectations that he rejects those other good things, and finally in others he feels trapped by the demands on him and unable to enjoy those good things despite his desire for them.  
    Certainly I think Ivan Ilyich has these themes at work, but I’m also reminded of Sinclair Lewis’s Babbitt, and perhaps even Death of a Salesman.  I’m sure you all could come up with several more – What do you think?
    Now that I’ve ruminated on these things a bit, another theme (perhaps a more promising one) that I could see you doing a great show on would be “The Good Life” – for ideas about what constitutes the good life have certainly changed over the course of time, even as threads of commonality remain from the ancients.  
    Again, thanks for your work on the podcast – always enjoyable and edifying.
    Cheers,
    Todd

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *