Thanatológiai Szemle

elektronikus folyóirat


VI. évfolyam

2002 õsz


Dear Reader,

Looking back in the - already years long - past of Kharón the Honored Reader could see that disregarding some exceptions the editorial staff of the journal always endeavored to keep the principle of interdisciplinarity in view as an organizing principle. Nevertheless the scale often moved towards articles harping on these days’ thanathologic problems. Our present issue seems to differ from this tendency since - as you are going to see - the scale now is tilting to the direction of the topic’s historical and philosophical side. Fortunately our authors sent us many new manuscripts that help us to show how complex death is as a cultural phenomenon, and that it has new messages for the people even in historical, grammatical, literary historical or ethnographical perspective.

It is our great pleasure to publish verses from one notable member of today’s contemporary literature, Krisztina Tóth in the column Poems. Our readers who like literature can meet the literary translator and poetess’ works in volumes Autumn Waving of Coats (1988), Thread of Discussion (1994), The Visit (contemporary French poets, 1996), The Shadowman (1997) Powdery Snow (2001). Krisztina Tóth won a lot of awards, e.g. Illyés Gyula award /1994/, Graves-price /1996/, József Attila-price /2000/ etc.

The study of Irén Berta, Szabóné titled Terminal stage cancer patients’ opinion of hospice care is a very important work since the real efficiency of any sanitary provision can be measured by the satisfaction of the patient and his/her relatives. To promote the rapprochement of principal objects and the realized practice, we need such surveys which - this time - not only concentrates on the problems concerning hospice care but also on the quality of other provisions with terminal stage patients within the government financed care. Patients who need palliative care and were tended in hospital departments focusing basically on curative treatments or those admitted home from such departments and their relatives generally experience to remain alone with their problems, neither the hospital consultant nor the family doctor finds the role to play in this situation. From the survey we can see that the patients are also dissatisfied with the form of care they get in these cases. However, in spite of the deficiencies of hospice care that gives the best option nowadays, we can clearly see the claim of patients and their families: there is a need for that form of care and it should be part of the official’ health system.

Nathan Attila Raschka in his study work with sick and dying patients in jewish communities emphasizes that all those people taking part in any kind of social work as professionals or volunteers should know the traditions that can be his/her work’s antecedents. The past can not only give an example and teach centuries old experiences but also helps making ourselves understood with the needy of the same culture, to feel their problems and thoughts more deeply, since cultural determinedness and roots can also help in living our own fate and can show the way. Nathan Attila Raschka shows that the form of service which is represented by hospice care has its historic traditions in Jewish communities, and that this activity is deeply encoded in the cultural spirit of the Jewish person.

The Reader who is not frightened by the huge data-cavalcade of grammatical commentaries can get information about the historical and descriptive grammatical analysis of the word death and also can meet the semantic components of this word. The lay readership is helped by the dictionary at the end of Dániel Levente Pál’s study which is explaining the most important grammatic technical words.

The work of Csilla Ladányi-Turóczy is going to be a real literary historic delicacy since she analyses the death concept of a Portuguese roman written in the 16th century within the extracts translated by herself. According to the author of the study the romance of Bernardim Ribeiro (1482-1536) - who is not well known in our country - is the product of a special culture that can be connected to the violently debarred Iberian Jews and which is steeped by the words of the Kabbala.

Mrs. Etele Horváth informs us about the funeral customs of Véménd, a small village in Baranya county through the eyes of a local patriot proud on the culture and traditions. The collecting work that aims to keep and respect our death customs is worth respect and following, and we hope we can provide useful details for our ethnographist readers too if we undertake publishing such amateaur iniciatives also.

Ildikó Horányi
senior editor




Wandering moon
November letter



Terminal stage cancer patients’ opinion of hospice care

The survey made amongst terminal stage cancer patients in 2001 in Budapest shows the patients’ opinion of hospice care. The aim of the study to assess to what extent do patients nursed in their homes or in hospitals need hospice care and how much they were satisfied with the care they got.


Work with sick and dying patients in jewish communities

The subject of the study is the supporting of the sick or dying person and his/her family from the old.time judaism till nowadays, and the review of communal care through Jewish traditions and its effect on Christian nursing.



The study undertakes the linguistic and language historic analysis of the word death, and it also shows this word’s semantic context.


Nightingales die easily
- Death, grief and migration of souls in a sixteenth century Portuguese roman -

The literary translations published at the end of the study in an appendix are from the only roman of a Portuguese poet and writer: Bernardim Ribeiro (1482-1536). The stories are about death, dying and grief. The literary historic analysis of the extracts shows that the author’s death-concept is different from his age’s customary European concept. If we examine the individualities more carefully it seems to be proved that the author was an Iberian Jew who was violently converted, and we can find some signs of what the Kabbala teaches in his works (e.g. faith of migration of souls).



Burial customs in Véménd

Véménd is a small multinational village in Baranya county. Most of the rites and customs are still present there, though most of them are on the verge of extinction.One habitant of the village wrote this article in the memory of one rite, the burial customs. Two burial songs close the study.



Children in the gate of Death (Katalin Hegedűs)



Help-giving in the end. Psychical, social and spiritual support of dying people and their relatives (Melinda Szöllősi)