Wojciech Kosior, psychologist and historian of religion, is a post-graduate student at the Institute for Religious Studies at the Jagiellonian University (Cracow, Poland) and a student at the Paideia Institute for Jewish Studies (Stockholm, Sweden). He is also a member of the Polish Association for Jewish Studies. His scholarly interests include Biblical studies, cognitive psychology and linguistics.
The Rising Dead – metaphors of life, death and un-death in the Hebrew Bible
If we read the Hebrew Bible carefully, we will find a certain number of dead who became alive again. the main linguistic problem within this matter is that there is no specific word to convey the meaning of resurrection of the dead. Analogically, words being roots for “life” (hayym) and “death” (mavet) aren’t easy to define – the complex and non-obvious nature of both makes it easier to speak of them metaphorically. The dead “fall asleep”, “descend into the grave” or became “devoured by Sheol”. Thus, the undead “awake”, “ascend from the grave” or “leave the hand of Sheol”, to show only a few examples of metaphors of resurrection, of which the Sheol-metaphor seems to be the most intriguing due to the dim anthropomorphic or even godly status of the latter making it different from the grave-metaphor. So, what or who is Sheol? Is it a gloomy place of damnation or a hungry she-demon? Is resurrection possible? And last, but not least, what is the biblical difference between life and death? We’ll search for the answers during the forthcoming session.