Conceptual approaches to understanding the dying process

Authored by: Kenneth J. Doka

The Routledge Companion to Death and Dying

Print publication date:  May  2017
Online publication date:  May  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138852075
eBook ISBN: 9781315723747
Adobe ISBN:


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Literature about the dying process goes back to the dawn of written history. The Egyptian Book of the Dead offers advice to individuals approaching death about what they could expect after death while, in the Middle Ages, the Ars Moriendi – or Art of Dying – offers counsel to individuals on ways to die a good death. In addition, throughout the ages, poets, playwrights, and authors have often explored dying and death. However, only a little more than half a century ago – in the 1960s – did a sustained scientific study of dying begin. In this chapter, I will explore some of these early efforts to understand the dying process as well as more contemporary approaches. Finally, it is worthwhile to speculate on some of the directions that further research and conceptual development might take.

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