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Purified by FireA History of Cremation in America$
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Stephen Prothero

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780520208162

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520208162.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CALIFORNIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.california.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of California Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CALSO for personal use.date: 04 July 2022

Resurrection and the Resurrectionists

Resurrection and the Resurrectionists

(p.67) 3 Resurrection and the Resurrectionists
Purified by Fire

Stephen Prothero

University of California Press

Cremationists undermined the doctrine of the resurrection of the dead not so much by refuting it as by threatening to render it obsolete. The real resurrection occurred at the moment of death, not at the end of time. The cremationists made to demythologize the metaphor of death as sleep and the grave as a site of rest and reawakening. Concerns about premature burial likely led to cremation's diffusion. The most popular of all the religiously based arguments against cremation is the bodily resurrection. Cremationists took up three discernible positions on the doctrine of the bodily resurrection. They clearly tried to demythologize traditional Christian responses to death. The cremation movement participated in the development of a new, modern American self, liberated not only from the constraints of the irksome body but also from the constraints of traditions and customs—free to seek new experiences in both life and death.

Keywords:   bodily resurrection, resurrectionists, cremationists, death, life, grave, burial, cremation

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