After Lives: A Guide to Heaven, Hell, and Purgatory

After Lives: A Guide to Heaven, Hell, and Purgatory

by John Casey
     
 
One of the most profound, deeply affecting questions we face as human beings is the matter of our mortality--and its connection to immortality. Ancient animist ghost cultures, Egyptian mummification, late Jewish hopes of resurrection, Christian eternal salvation, Muslim belief in hell and paradise all spring from a remarkably consistent impulse to tether a triumph

Overview

One of the most profound, deeply affecting questions we face as human beings is the matter of our mortality--and its connection to immortality. Ancient animist ghost cultures, Egyptian mummification, late Jewish hopes of resurrection, Christian eternal salvation, Muslim belief in hell and paradise all spring from a remarkably consistent impulse to tether a triumph over death to our conduct in life.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
As Virgil to Dante, Cambridge University scholar and author Casey (Pagan Virtue) is a reader’s guide to views of the afterlife across centuries, cultures and religions. Happily for the scope of his inquiry, the author is immensely well-read and readily shows how powerfully and frequently notions of heaven and hell have inspired and haunted Western writers; the book opens and closes with James Joyce’s artist character Stephen Daedalus, who exemplifies the potent influence of the Catholic Christian view of hell. The book’s most valuable contribution is its attention to the overarching context of non-Christian Western and Middle Eastern cultures. Egyptian, Mesopotamian, ancient Judaic, Greek and Roman conceptions anchor and shape the evolving Christian view. Muslim views of the afterlife are included, though scantily, a commendable attempt at redressing ignorance of a tradition in which the afterlife plays a significant theological role. This is a smart and comprehensive survey, though a general educated reader will need patience with citations in the original languages (which are translated immediately after). (Nov.)
From the Publisher
"After Lives is an elegant and informative literary pilgrimage through heaven, hell, and purgatory — a rare achievement in humane erudition, graced by sympathy, curiosity, and candor."
— Carol Zaleski, author of Otherworld Journeys, The Life of the World to Come, The Book of Heaven, and Prayer: A History

"John Casey's After Lives, steeped in classics, philosophy, literature, and religion, discusses a vast variety of ideas about what happens after death. It ranges over heaven, hell, and what may lie between, covering ideas from ancient Egypt to twentieth-century spiritualism. It is vivid, ironic, deep, and accessible."
— Jeffrey Burton Russell, author of A History of Heaven and Paradise Mislaid

"Happily for the scope of his inquiry, the author is immensely well-read and readily shows how powerfully and frequently notions of heaven and hell have inspired and haunted Western writers. This is a smart and comprehensive survey."—Publishers Weekly

""After Lives" offers a humane and often witty engagement with the concepts of heaven and hell in different times and according to different faiths. It is ironic that a book about life after death so enlivens one of the most important conversations we can have in the here and now."—The Wall Street Journal

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780199975037
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
Publication date:
03/01/2013
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
480
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.40(d)

Meet the Author

John Casey is a Fellow of Caius College, Cambridge University. He is the author of Pagan Virtue, Morality and Moral Reasoning and The Language of Criticism.

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