Last Things

Last Things : Death and the Apocalypse in the Middle Ages

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When the medievals spoke of "last things" they were sometimes referring to events, such as the millennium or the appearance of the Antichrist, that would come to all of humanity or at the end of time. But they also meant the last things that would come to each individual separately-not just the place, Heaven, Hell, or Purgatory, to which their souls would go but also the accounting, the calling to reckoning, that would come at the end of life. At different periods in the Middle Ages one or the other of these sorts of "last things" tended to be dominant, but both coexisted throughout. In Last Things, Caroline Walker Bynum and Paul Freedman bring together eleven essays that focus on the competing eschatologies of the Middle Ages and on the ways in which they expose different sensibilities, different theories of the human person, and very different understandings of the body, of time, of the end. Exploring such themes as the significance of dying and the afterlife, apocalyptic time, and the eschatological imagination, each essay in the volume enriches our understanding of the eschatological awarenesses of the European Middle Ages.

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  • Paperback | 376 pages
  • 149.86 x 238.76 x 27.94mm | 566.99g
  • 01 Jan 2000
  • University of Pennsylvania Press
  • Pennsylvania
  • English
  • 17 illus.
  • 0812217020
  • 9780812217025
  • 518,067

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Author Information

Caroline Walker Bynum is Professor of Medieval History at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey. She is the author and editor of numerous books, including The Resurrection of the Body in Western Christianity, 200-1336, Holy Feast and Holy Fast: The Religious Significance of Food to Medieval Women, and Wonderful Blood: Theology and Practice in Late Medieval Northern Germany and Beyond, winner of the Award for Excellence in the Historical Study of Religion from the American Academy of Religion. Paul Freedman is Professor of History at Yale University. He is the author of various articles and books, including Images of the Medieval Peasant and The Origins of Peasant Servitude in Medieval Catalonia.

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Review quote

"Last Things will repay the serious attention of readers concerned with any aspect of medieval religion."-Speculum

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