Christian Mummification

An Interpretative History of the Preservation of Saints, Martyrs and Others


Only 1 left in stock (can be backordered)

Add to Wishlist
Add to Wishlist
SKU: 9780786465194 Category: Tag:

About the Book

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.

About the Author(s)

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.

Bibliographic Details

Ken Jeremiah

Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 272
Bibliographic Info: 56 photos, appendix, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2012
pISBN: 978-0-7864-6519-4
eISBN: 978-0-7864-8979-4
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      vii
Preface      1
Introduction      3

I. World Mummification
1. Mummification and Critical Thinking      9
2. The Science of Mummification      12
3. Natural Mummies      15
4. Artificial Mummies      18
5. Other Forms of Mummification      22
6. Relic-Bodies            26
7. Death and the Unknown: The Allure of Mummies      32

II. Mummies in Italy
8. Critical Thinking, Self-Reflection, and Mummy Studies      37
9. The Roman Catacombs      40
10. The Cult of the Martyrs      43
11. The Catacombs in Palermo      49
12. The Chapel of the Dead and the Skull Cathedral      53
13. Mummies of Ferentillo and San Domenico Maggiore; Papal Funerals      57
14. Polytheistic Elements of the Faith      64

III. Saints and Relics
15. The Enigmatic Catholic Saint      73
16. The History of Saint Making      78
17. Stigmata and Other Miracles      82
18. Modern Saints      88
19. Asceticism in the Catholic Faith      92
20. The Importance of Physical Remains      96
21. The Cult of the Dead      100

IV. Incorruptible Bodies
22. The Incorruptibles      107
23. Miraculous Preservation      111
24. The Preserved Bodies in Rome, Assisi and Mantova      116
25. Mummies in Florence, Naples and Sicily      122
26. Mummies in Other Parts of Italy      125
27. The Importance of the Incorruptibles      128
28. Preservation in Christianity      132

V. Influences from Other Cultures
29. Mummification in Roman Society      141
30. The Old Testament      148
31. Historical Evidence      151
32. Immaculate Conception and the Resurrection      161
33. Mithra: The Zoroastrian God of the Sun      167
34. Pythagoras and Dionysus      170
35. The Cult of Osiris      174

VI. The Egyptian Influence
36. Egyptian Influences in Italy      181
37. Alexandria and Coptic Christianity      188
38. Early Egyptian Religious Beliefs      192
39. Burial Practices      196
40. The Holy Trinity: Isis, Horus and Osiris      199
41. Religious Rituals and Practices      204
42. Integration and Assimilation      209

VII. The Reasons Behind Christian Mummification
43. The Bodily Preservation of Jesus      215
44. The Rapture      217
45. Early Concepts of the Soul      223
46. The Power Inherent in Bodily Remains      226
47. Foreign Influences      229
48. Enduring Virtuosity      233
49. Symbols of Life and Death      236

Appendix: Locations of Select Mummies or Bodily Relics in Italy      241
Chapter Notes      247
Bibliography      253
Index      261