In Stargate and SG-1 the Goa'uld use a healing device, called a sarcophagus, for various purposes (provide long life to their host, reward sycophants, etc). One of the more unpleasant uses Goa'uld have for it, however, is to torture someone to death and then use the sarcophagus to restore life to the dead body. This way they can continuously torture someone to death for as long as they wish.

Presumably this feature of the sarcophagus could be used by anyone wishing to bring someone else back from death (loved ones, friends, enemies, etc). But is there a limit to how long the body can be dead before a sarcophagus is able to restore life to it? For example, in one episode Jack contracts a disease from an Ancient and can only be saved by a Tok'ra symbiote. But considering Jack's oft-repeated opinion regarding having a "snake" in one's head, couldn't they have let him die, stuck him on ice and then found a Sarcophagus later to revive him in?

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    The answer is, of course, 42. – eidylon Mar 30 '12 at 18:01
  • @eidylon: 42 what? The question asks for a measure of time, while your suggestion is dimensionless. – bitmask Mar 30 '12 at 18:11
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    It was a joke. Read the Douglas Adams novels starting with The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. – KeithS Mar 30 '12 at 21:02

A Sarcophagus is limited to reviving only living tissue, so the time limit would be the time it takes the tissues of a person to die. The reason that they stopped using Sarcophagi? Sarcophaguses? is that they found out that it altered one's mind when used too often, causing detrimental changes in personality.

There was an episode where Daniel Jackson finds an ancient healing device in the jungle, which turns out to be the origin to the technology behind Sarcophagi. That device was powerful enough to reanimate dead tissue, but again caused horrific changes in personality.

It is presumed in the show that the technology used to heal is too powerful for human bodies, which is where the negative effects come from.

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    To put some concrete numbers, human brain cells die about 3-7 minutes after death, skin cells last the longest and can live for a day after the body dies. Assuming the brain is the important bits then a baseline human would probably have about 5 minutes to get into a sarcophogus with the mental side effects likely getting more pronounced after that. Since a goa'uld may not be as concerned about his hosts brain cells there is likely much more leeway for a host/goa'uld combo to recover. – John Meacham Jul 21 '14 at 4:44
  • @JohnMeacham: Rewriting the dead brain cells is a good explanation for the personality changes. – Zan Lynx Jan 15 '15 at 2:59

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