Salvation and Suicide: Jim Jones, the Peoples Temple, and Jonestown

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Indiana University Press, 2003 - Religion - 190 pages
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Praise for the first edition:
"[This] ambitious and courageous book [is a] benchmark of theology by which questions about the meaningful history of the Peoples Temple may be measured." --Journal of the American Academy of Religion

Re-issued in recognition of the 25th anniversary of the mass suicides at Jonestown, this revised edition of David Chidester's pathbreaking book features a new prologue that considers the meaning of the tragedy for a post-Waco, post-9/11 world. For Chidester, Jonestown recalls the American religious commitment to redemptive sacrifice, which for Jim Jones meant saving his followers from the evils of capitalist society. "Jonestown is ancient history," writes Chidester, but it does provide us with an opportunity "to reflect upon the strangeness of familiar... promises of redemption through sacrifice."

 

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Contents

Perspectives on an Event
12
The Classification of Persons
51
Orientation in Space
79
Orientation in Time
105
Salvation and Suicide
129
Epilogue
160
NOTES
171
INDEX
186
Copyright

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Page xxiii - Oh, no, don't. You can't — don't say that." But I had underestimated him. He went on: "I would rather see my little girls die now, still believing in God, than have them grow up under communism and one day die no longer believing in God." There were thousands of young people in that audience. They came to their feet with shouts of joy. They had instantly recognized the profound truth in what he had said, with regard to the physical and the soul and what was truly important.

About the author (2003)

David Chidester is Chair of Religious Studies at the University of Cape Town and author or editor of 20 books, including American Sacred Space (IUP, 1995), edited with Edward T. Linenthal, and Christianity: A Global History.

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