The Rise and Fall of the Afterlife

The Rise and Fall of the Afterlife

by Jan N. Bremmer
     
 

ISBN-10: 0415141486

ISBN-13: 9780415141482

Pub. Date: 11/09/2001

Publisher: Taylor & Francis

Belief in the afterlife is still very much alive in Western civilisation, even though the truth of its existence is no longer universally accepted. Surprisingly, however, heaven, hell and the immortal soul were all ideas which arrived relatively late in the ancient world. Originally Greece and Israel - the cultures that gave us Christianity - had only the vaguest

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Overview

Belief in the afterlife is still very much alive in Western civilisation, even though the truth of its existence is no longer universally accepted. Surprisingly, however, heaven, hell and the immortal soul were all ideas which arrived relatively late in the ancient world. Originally Greece and Israel - the cultures that gave us Christianity - had only the vaguest ideas of an afterlife. So where did these concepts come from and why did they develop?
In this fascinating, learned, but highly readable book, Jan N. Bremmer - one of the foremost authorities on ancient religion - takes a fresh look at the major developments in the Western imagination of the afterlife, from the ancient Greeks to the modern near-death experience.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780415141482
Publisher:
Taylor & Francis
Publication date:
11/09/2001
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
256
Product dimensions:
6.14(w) x 9.21(h) x 0.53(d)

Related Subjects

Table of Contents

Preface
Abbreviations
1Inventing the afterlife1
2Orphism, Pythagoras and the rise of the immortal soul11
3Travelling souls? Greek shamanism reconsidered27
4The resurrection from Zoroaster to late antiquity41
5The development of the early Christian afterlife: from the Passion of Perpetua to purgatory56
6Ancient necromancy and modern spiritualism71
7Near-death experiences: ancient, medieval and modern87
App. 1Why did Jesus' followers call themselves 'Christians'?103
App. 2The birth of the term 'Paradise'109
App. 3God's heavenly palace as a military court: The Vision of Dorotheus128
Notes134
Bibliography187
Index of names, subjects and passages225

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