Date of Award

Fall 2018

Document Type

Undergraduate Honors Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts in Theology and Religious Studies


Theology & Religious Studies


Peter Bennett


Dr. Susannah Stern


Erin Prickett Fornelli, MA


This research paper analyzes Catholic, Daoist, and Jewish beliefs on death, the body, the soul, afterlife, and after death rituals in order to build a connection between these beliefs and human composting practices. It uses these three religious traditions to find support for and recognize potential opposition against the human compost movement. These conclusions are in turn used to make a claim for human composting. Thorough research and a careful analysis of religious beliefs and traditions surrounding death and the body provides theological support for human composting as a recommended method for body disposal after death. Therefore, this research is incredibly important to the rapidly modernizing world because it provides some of the very first religious arguments ever made for the human compost movement, kickstarting this kind of support for all kinds of religious traditions. It is becoming more common to make environmentally friendly choices in one’s daily practices, but it is much less common to do so with one’s death practices often due to one’s religious beliefs. This research expands the field of theology by uniting the secular topic of human composting to the theological interpretation of death.