Death has proved advantageous to humanity: this is the unlying argument of this book, enshrined in the expression 'words against death'. The human animal never lets death have the last word. Though religious ritual and secular rites, in words and in music, in architecture and in art, people express their trust in hope over fear. Grounded in anthropology, this unique collection of material on funeral rites includes theology, philosophical and psychological perspectives on death. It not only covers basic aspects of Middle Eastern, Eastern and Western religious traditions but also includes empirical research on such things as experiencing the presence of the dead and attitudes to the death of pets. This revised edition includes new material on theories of grief and presents Professor Davies' own theory on death in the birth of world religions and on 'offending deaths' in sacrifice and human catastrophes.