Featured Book: Death, Dying and the Afterlife

“Most of us would admit that…we fear death.” Religious studies chair at Hamline University, Mark Berkson explains, “The thought that we will vanish one day, and that no part of our lives and efforts will endure, is almost unbearable.” But look: “We cannot avoid our ultimate fate….” So it is that he here confronts head on death, dying, and—should there be one—the afterlife.

This is why: “[D]eath is what makes meaningful life possible. Knowing what little time we have makes every day precious and each moment sacred.” It’s his hope that we, by accepting demise and loss, will “die better deaths when the time comes, and…live wiser, richer, more fulfilling lives while we have them.”

What this Featured Book is, is the transcript of all of Berkson’s 24 lectures in The Great Courses study of our negation. As well, it includes a Reader’s Digest-like condensed version of each lecture. And how all-encompassing it is: read about grief, death rituals, immortality, euthanasia, capital punishment, and much more.

As a course, this study garnered 53 best-possible reviews [out of 66]. As one student observed, “This course will actually change the way you view life and the prospect of death.”

Death, Dying, and the Afterlife: Lessons from World Cultures
By Mark Berkson
The Great Courses/The Teaching Company, 2016