It’s been a few months since the last sneak peak at Pocket Guide to the Afterlife, which releases next year from Jossey-Bass (along with Pocket Guide to Sainthood and a repackaged Pocket Guide to the Bible).
So here’s an entry from “Great Moments in Eternity,” the Timeline chapter. To give it some context, it’s preceded by a section about the Egyptian Book of the Dead and followed by some stuff about the emergence of Hinduism.
1500 BCE, Egypt: Keeping with the death-in-ancient-Egypt theme, the Angel of Death arrives at the Nile Delta to perform the dramatic final act of the ten plagues as told in the Old Testament book of Exodus. The angel passes over Egypt, killing all the first-born sons of the Egyptians but sparing those Israelite families who have smeared the blood of a lamb upon their doorposts. This leads to the Jews’ Moses-guided mass exodus out of Egypt. It also leads to the traditional Jewish Passover celebration. And the idea of a death-dealing angel also leads to the development of the western idea of the Grim Reaper, which is the concept behind the hit 1976 hit song “(Don’t Fear) the Reaper” by Blue Oyster Cult, which provides the musical setting for the famous Saturday Night Live skit in 2000 that introduces the catchphrase “more cowbell!” to popular culture, and which therefore confirms the ancient Mayan prophecies predicting a direct, mystical link between Moses and Will Ferrell.
In related news, have you purchased your personally signed and shipped copy of Pocket Guide to the Bible — the original version? I only have, like, 8500 remaining. Hurry before they’re gone! (See sidebar at left to order.)