Christian Mummification: An Interpretative History of the Preservation of Saints, Martyrs and Others

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McFarland, Apr 12, 2012 - Social Science - 272 pages
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A mention of mummification immediately brings to mind the ancient Egyptians--but the Roman Catholic Church has long used the practice to preserve notable members of its faith. In Italy alone, more than 300 preserved bodies appear on display in churches and cathedrals--the mummified remains of saints, priests, martyrs, and other high-ranking Roman Catholic officials. This study explores the history of Roman Catholic mummification, which continues to this day in the use of New Kingdom Egyptian mummification procedures on popes. It explores various types of mummies, the connections between the Catholic Church and Egyptian religious practices, the treatment of the dead by other faiths, and the veritable cult that has arisen in Italy surrounding the saints whose bodies are preserved. By examining this unusual practice from both scientific and cultural perspectives, the book sheds light on a relatively unstudied aspect of the Roman Catholic faith.
 

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Contents

Preface
1
Introduction
3
World Mummification
7
II Mummies in Italy
35
III Saints and Relics
71
IV Incorruptible Bodies
105
V Influences from Other Cultures
139
VI The Egyptian Influence
179
VII The Reasons Behind Christian Mummification
213
Appendix
241
Chapter Notes
247
Bibliography
253
Index
261
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About the author (2012)

Ken Jeremiah has written extensively about spiritual and religious phenomena. He lives in Narragansett, Rhode Island, and runs tour groups to Japan, Italy, and other countries yearly.

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