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Thanatology: The Igbo/African Metaphysics Sense and Value of Death

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DOI: 10.4236/ojpp.2014.41012    3,940 Downloads   5,351 Views Citations


This work aims at exploring the Igbo/African metaphysical sense of death and its traditional value and inter-communality. In this study, I intend to use the Igbo as a paradigm for an African experience of death. I begin by explaining that while thanatology is the systematic study of death, metaphysics is a study of reality as it concerns the phases of human existence from life to death. In doing so, I want to examine the African being in its wholeness. Interestingly, African philosophy conceives of being as dynamic and a force to be record with. The African world itself is best described as one of becoming: it is a world where there are constant interactions between the dead and the living, between the spirit-land and the human world. Thus, existence-in-relation aptly depicts the African view of life and reality. For the Igbo, however, life and death are intimately connected. To the extent that the latter paves the way to the ancestral dwelling, it is an urgent longing to join his forebears. Ultimately, the Igbo/African attaches a great value to ancestral abode which death makes possible. Through initiation the Igbo anticipates death. Only then does death become a phenomenon of life, entering the Igbo ontological being. Thus death for the Igbo does not constitute an end. Rather it intimates an authentic being (another beginning), which expressly embodies eschatology. I argue that eschatology aims at overcoming time.

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Chukwuelobe, M. (2014). Thanatology: The Igbo/African Metaphysics Sense and Value of Death. Open Journal of Philosophy, 4, 85-89. doi: 10.4236/ojpp.2014.41012.

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