‘Do you really want to live forever?’ With this immortal lyric from the 1980’s as his soundtrack, religious historian Dag Øistein Endsjø goes in search of eternal life.
The dream of immortality is possibly as old as humanity itself. One of the few things we all have in common, is the knowledge that we shall all die. The alternative appears as simple as it is unachievable. Is it possible to stop our bodies from changing and to preserve them forever? What would happen if time lost its power over us? What really distinguishes Jesus’ from vampires, or the zombies who come back to life in The Walking Dead?
The History of Immortality will not give you the recipe for eternal life. Nor does it contain any irrefutable evidence that immortality is possible. What it does offer, however, is a wide-ranging, informative and entertaining account of humanity’s engagement with life’s most central question: What happens to us when we die, and what we might be able to do to avoid it? The story about immortality goes all the way back to how the Mesopotamians and ancient Greeks held that the gods made certain men and women physically immortal, by way of the breakthrough of Christianity, sex with gods, animals resurrected from skin and bones, almost invulnerable saints, incorruptible corpses, the most miraculous healings, revenants, cyborgs, people condemned to wander forever, and today’s experiments in genetics, nutrition and medicine.
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