Focus and Scope
The permanence and profundity of death touches human beings across cultures and times. To the peoples of the ancient Mediterranean, the lines between death and life were neither fixed nor finite. For most, death was a passageway into a new and uncertain existence. The dead were not so much extinguished as understood to be elsewhere, and many perceived the deceased to continue to exercise agency among the living. Even for those more skeptical of an afterlife, notions of coming back to life provided frameworks in which to conceptualize the on-going social, political, and cultural influence of the past.
This collection of essays examines how notions of coming back to life shape the practices and ideals of peoples and groups throughout the ancient Mediterranean. How might the dead come back to life? In what ways, and through what means, can the dead continue to exercise agency among the living? What does it mean for that which is past to linger in the present? This collection of essays explores questions such as these with respect to a variety of religious communities and peoples in the ancient Mediterranean. All contributors focus on the common theme of coming back to life as a discursive and descriptive space in which antique peoples construct, maintain, and negotiate the porous boundaries between past and present, mortality and immortality, death and life.
The Coming Back to Life eBook includes essays from an international collection of established and emerging scholars: Sarah Iles Johnston, Vita Daphna Arbel, Roger Beck, Troels Engberg-Pedersen, Hugo Lundhaug, Frances Flannery, Valerie Hope, Meredith Warren, Katharina Waldner, Angela Standhartinger, David Eastman, Jeffrey Keiser, Stéphanie Machabée, Eliza Rosenberg, Bradley N. Rice, Carly Daniel-Hughes, and Frederick Tappenden. Papers reflect interdisciplinary sophistication in a breadth of theoretical fields, including issues of memory, performance, cognition, gender, genre/narrative, ritual, and cultural studies. As the first fully digital book published by McGill University, this publication establishes proof-of-concept for McGill’s eBook publishing initiatives.
Peer Review Process
All essays in the Coming Back to Life eBook were subject to a double-blind peer-review process, which was mediated by Jennifer Innes of the McGill University Library. Each essay was considered on its own merits, rather than as part of the volume as a whole. After review was complete, the editors offered additional feedback in light of the overall shape of the volume and the placement/contribution of each essay therein. Reviews were done according to the following criteria:
- Theme – Does the paper fit the theme of the volume (as outlined above in "Focus and Scope")? What does the paper contribute to our understanding of how notions of Coming Back to Life are employed in ancient Mediterranean cultures, religions, and life?
- Originality – Is the work relevant and novel? Does it contain significant additional material to that already published?
- Challenge – Does the paper expand or further research in this subject area? Does it significantly build on previous work? Is the methodology sound, and is the analysis accurate and properly conducted?
- Abstract – Is an abstract provided? Does it adequately summarize the key findings/approach/argument of the paper?
- Presentation – Is the writing style clear and appropriate to the readership? Are any tables or graphics clear to read and labeled appropriately? Is the content of the paper of sufficient interest to justify its length?
- References – Does the paper contain the appropriate referencing to provide adequate context for the present work?
Open Access Policy
All content in the Coming Back to Life eBook is available in three open-access formats:
- PDF (with pagination)
This eBook provides immediate open access to its content on the principle that making research freely available to the public supports a greater global exchange of knowledge.
Tappenden, Frederick. S., and Carly Daniel-Hughes, eds. 2017. Coming Back to Life: The Permeability of Past and Present, Mortality and Immortality, Death and Life in the Ancient Mediterranean. Editorial assistance from Bradley N. Rice. Montreal, QC: McGill University Library. Online: http://comingbacktolife.mcgill.ca.
Sample article bibliography:
*note: pagination follows the PDF format
Hope, Valerie M. 2017. “Living Without the Dead: Finding Solace in Ancient Rome.” Pages 39–70 in Coming Back to Life: The Permeability of Past and Present, Mortality and Immortality, Death and Life in the Ancient Mediterranean. Edited by Frederick S. Tappenden and Carly Daniel-Hughes, with the assistance of Bradley N. Rice. Montreal, QC: McGill University Library. Online: http://comingbacktolife.mcgill.ca.