Salvation and Suicide

Salvation and Suicide

An Interpretation of Jim Jones, the Peoples Temple, and Jonestown
David Chidester
Distribution: World
Publication date: 9/25/2003
Format: paper 224 pages, 1 index
6.125 x 9.25
ISBN: 978-0-253-21632-8
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Description

Praise for the first edition:
“[This] ambitious and courageous book [is a] benchmark of theology by which questions about the meaningful history of the Peoples Temple may be measured.” —Journal of the American Academy of Religion

Re-issued in recognition of the 25th anniversary of the mass suicides at Jonestown, this revised edition of David Chidester’s pathbreaking book features a new prologue that considers the meaning of the tragedy for a post-Waco, post-9/11 world. For Chidester, Jonestown recalls the American religious commitment to redemptive sacrifice, which for Jim Jones meant saving his followers from the evils of capitalist society. “Jonestown is ancient history,” writes Chidester, but it does provide us with an opportunity “to reflect upon the strangeness of familiar . . . promises of redemption through sacrifice.”

Author Bio

David Chidester is Chair of Religious Studies at the University of Cape Town and author or editor of 20 books, including American Sacred Space (IUP, 1995), edited with Edward T. Linenthal, and Christianity: A Global History.

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Table of Contents

FOREWORD BY CATHERINE L. ALBANESE AND STEPHEN J. STEIN
PREFACE

Introduction: Jim Jones, the Peoples Temple, and Jonestown

I. PERSPECTIVES ON AN EVENT
1. Death and Rituals of Exclusion and Inclusion
2. Cognitive Distancing
3. Religiohistorical Interpretation

II. THE CLASSIFICATION OF PERSONS
1. Superhuman
2. Subhuman
3. Human

III. ORIENTATION IN SPACE
1. Cosmic Space
2. Geographic Space
3. Body Space

IV. ORIENTATION IN TIME
1. Cosmic Time
2. Historical Time
3. Body Time

V. SALVATION AND SUICIDE
1. Religious Suicide
2. White Nights
3. The End

Epilogue

NOTES
INDEX