How We Die: From Sherwin Nuland to the Early Christians and Back Again
In his well-known book How We Die, the late medical doctor Sherwin Nuland influentially argued that death in our day has become dehumanized and depersonalized. As a consequence, he suggested, the dying process now involves unnecessary suffering as doctors try everything to save us from death. Worst of all, death has become consumed by the doctor-patient relationship, and often by a clinging to impossible hopes about the extension of our earthly life, rather than being a time to focus on our other relationships and on bringing our earthly lives to a close. In this light, Levering will ask what difference Christ makes. By examining stories about the deaths of early Christians (not including martydoms), he will consider how we die in Christ and how this should be combined with our legitimate desire for top-notch medical care.
Matthew Levering (PhD, Boston College) is Perry Family Foundation Professor of Theology at Mundelein Seminary, Co-Director of the Chicago Theological Initiative, and Director of the Center for Scriptural Exegesis, Philosophy, and Doctrine. He has previously served as Professor of Theology at the University of Dayton, and Associate Professor of Theology at Ave Maria University. He is the author, editor or translator of over thirty books. Some of his most recent books include Proofs of God: From Tertullian to Karl Barth; Natural Law: A Jewish-Christian-Islamic Trialogue (co-authored with David Novak and Anver Emon); Paul in the Summa Theologiae; The Theology of Augustine; and Jesus and the Demise of Death. His interests include dogmatic and historical Catholic theology, Thomas Aquinas, biblical and ecumenical theology, philosophical reflection on God, and Vatican II.