Martyrdom, Self-Sacrifice, and Self-Immolation: Religious Perspectives on Suicide

ISBN : 9780190656492

Margo Kitts
352 Pages
156 x 235 mm
Pub date
Jul 2018
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The essays in Martyrdom, Self-Sacrifice, and Self-Immolation address the delicate subject of those elective deaths which can be categorized as religiously sanctioned suicides. Broadly condemned as cowardice across the world's moral codes, suicide under certain circumstances-such as martyrdom, self-sacrifice, or self-immolation-historically carries a dynamic importance in religious legends, some tragic and others uplifting.


1. Introduction: On Death, Religion, and Rubrics for Suicide
Margo Kitts
2. To Die For: The Evolution of Early Jewish Martyrdom
Shmuel Shepkaru
3. Performing Christian Martyrdoms
Gail Streete
4. Collective Martyrdom and Religious Suicide: The Branch Davidians and Heaven's Gate
Catherine Wessinger
5. Martyrdom and its Contestations in the Formative Period of Islam
Asma Afsaruddin
6. The Death of Musa al- Kazim (d. 184/799): Knowledge and Suicide in Early Twelver Shi'ism
Najam Haider
7. Apologia for Suicide: Martyrdom in Contemporary Jihadist Discourse
Mohammed M. Hafez
8. Hindu Ascetic Death
Mary Storm
9. Sati
David Brick
10. Dying Heroically: Jainism and the Ritual Fast to Death
Anne Vallely
11. The Tropics of Heroic Death: Martyrdom and the Sikh Tradition
Louis E. Fenech
12. The Meanings of Sacrifice: The LTTE, Suicide, and the Limits of the Religion Question
Benjamin Schonthal
13. To Extract the Essence from this Essenceless Body: Self-Sacrifice and Self-Immolation in Indian Buddhism
Reiko Ohnuma
14. Reflection on Self-Immolation in Chinese Buddhist and Daoist Traditions
Jimmy Yu
15. Relinquishing the Body to Reach the Pure Land: Buddhist Ascetic Suicide in Premodern Japan
Jacquelyn I. Stone

About the author: 

Margo Kitts is a professor of humanities and religious studies at Hawai'i Pacific University.

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