Der Tod von eigener Hand 978-3-16-154571-9 - Mohr Siebeck

Jan Dietrich

Der Tod von eigener Hand

Studien zum Suizid im Alten Testament, Alten Ägypten und Alten Orient

[Death By One's Own Hand. Studies on Suicide in the Old Testament, Ancient Egypt and the Ancient Near East.]

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Published in German.
This is the first attempt at studying suicide in ancient Israel, ancient Egypt, and the ancient Near East. Jan Dietrich views suicide from a historico-cultural and sociological perspective and focuses on the motives and meanings behind suicidal acts.
Suicide raises questions about the meaning and purpose of human life, and the definition of man as being capable of committing suicide is perhaps one of the most eerie, philosophically sophisticated and theologically inconvenient. Furthermore, suicide and the different ways society deals with suicide are currently being debated not only in society but in different fields of research too. Until now however, there has been no extensive study of suicide in ancient Israel and its neighbouring cultures of ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia and Syria, and it is the aim of this book to close this research gap. Jan Dietrich does not view suicide from medical or dogmatic-theological perspectives, which regard suicide as an act of mental illness or sinful deed. Instead, it is viewed from a historico-cultural and sociological perspective and focuses on the motives and meanings behind suicidal acts. By examining suicide from this angle, it is interpreted as an attempt to solve basic problems of life, and the historical material available is categorised into three basic forms: escapist suicides, aggressive suicides, and suicides of passage and sacrifice.

Jan Dietrich 1996–2003 Studium der Ev. Theologie, Geschichte, Philosophie und Pädagogik in Tübingen und Cambridge, weiterhin Studien der akkadischen, ugaritischen und altägyptischen Sprachen; 2004–09 wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter am alttestamentlichen Institut der Universität Leipzig; 2009 Promotion; seit 2012 Associate Professor für Altes Testament an der Universität Aarhus, Dänemark.


The following reviews are known:

In: Bulletin for Biblical Research — 28 (2018), S. 275–277 (Gerald A. Klingbeil)
In: Journal for the Study of the OT — 41.5 (2017) (Anselm C. Hagedorn)
In: Zeitschr. f. d. Alttestamentl. Wissenschaft — 131 (2019), S. 140–141 (Manfred Krebernik)
In: Schweiz.Zeitschr.f.Rel.-u.KulturG — 2018, S. 399–400 (Stefan Bojowald)