Digest of terms


the disposal of bodily remains by burning rather than burial. Though found historically across all continents, its incidence has correlated with different beliefs about post-mortem prospects. Religions such as Hinduism and Buddhism, associated with belief in rebirth and reincarnation, and therefore less focused on one particular body, have engaged in cremation. Jews, Christians and Muslims, among whom belief in bodily resurrection has been the norm, have engaged in burial. The distinction carries over into ethical sensitivities regarding the integrity of the body in medical practice, e.g. in respect of autopsies and clinical dissection. Reluctance to cremate has reduced in recent decades, in part related to the greater cost of burial and a decrease in the availability of space for such. It is also a result of theological perception that transition to any other world, even if talked about in terms of bodily identity, is also thought of as involving a different mode of being, a different kind of post-mortem body.

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