After Lives

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

4.12 (16 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

One of the most profound, deeply affecting questions we face as human beings is the matter of our mortality-and its connection to immorality. 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. In After Lives, British scholar John Casey provides a rich historical and philosophical exploration of the world beyond, from the ancient Egyptians to St. Thomas Aquinas, from Martin Luther to modern Mormons. In a lively, wide-ranging discussion, he examines such topics as predestination, purgatory, Spiritualism, the Rapture, Armageddon and current Muslim apocalyptics, as well as the impact of such influences as the New Testament, St. Augustine, Dante, and the Second Vatican Council. Ideas of heaven and hell, Casey argues, illuminate how we understand the ultimate nature of sin, justice, punishment, and our moral sense itself. The concepts of eternal bliss and eternal punishment express-and test-our ideas of good and evil. For example, the ancient Egyptians saw the afterlife as flowing from ma'at, a sense of being in harmony with life, a concept that includes truth, order, justice, and the fundamental law of the universe. "It is an optimistic view of life," he writes. "It is an ethic that connects wisdom with moral goodness." Perhaps just as revealing, Casey finds, are modern secular interpretations of heaven and hell, as he probes the place of goodness, virtue, and happiness in the age of psychology and scientific investigation. With elegant writing, a magisterial grasp of a vast literary and religious history, and moments of humor and irony, After Lives sheds new light on the question of life, death, and morality in human culture.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 480 pages
  • 154.94 x 243.84 x 40.64mm | 635.03g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 10 black and white halftone illustrations
  • 0195092953
  • 9780195092950
  • 429,146

About John Casey

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

Review quote

Casey is an acute historian. * James Wood, The London Review of Books * John Casey gives a magisterial overview of the Western eschatological tradition death, judgement, heaven and hell providing sympathetic and lucid summaries of a vast range of different and at times conflicting sources that is a real pleasure to read. * David Lorimer, Network Review * wide ranging and thought-provoking...One of the most striking features of the book is its willingness to grasp what is morally or spiritually positive in each of a wide range of conflicting positions. * Noel Malcolm, The Tablet * Casey is a well-read and sure-footed guide, with a keen analytic mind and a neat turn of phrase...I look forward to rereading much of this at leisure. * Philip Johnstone, Journal of Semitic Studies * Students of the religious drama will find interesting background material for the Harrowing of Hell and Doomsday pageants, and useful speculation regarding medieval attitudes to the afterlife, in John Caseys entertaining whistle-stop tour of conceptions of post-mortem punishment and reward in cultures from ancient Egypt to the present. * Greg Walker, Years Work in English Studies *show more

Table of contents

PART 1 ; Prologue ; 1. AFTER LIVES ; 2. EGYPT ; 3. MESOPOTAMIA AND ISRAEL ; 4. GREECE AND ROME ; 5. THE CHRISTIAN BEGINNINGS ; 6. DANTE: INFERNO ; 7. PREDESTINATION: AUGUSTINE TO CALVIN AND BEYOND ; 8. THE DECLINE OF HELL ; Part II ; 9 ; HEAVEN ; 10. HEAVEN: EGYPT, MESOPOTAMIA, ISRAEL ; 11. BODIES FLESHLY AND SPIRITUAL ; 12. DANTE: PARADISO ; 13. CELESTIAL PLEASURES: RENAISSANCE AND ; REFORMATION HEAVENS ; 14. HEAVENLY SPECULATIONS ; 15. HEAVEN SEEN AND HEARD: SWEDENBORG ; 16. WITH EASY INTERCOURSE PASS TO AND FRO ; 17. SCORING IN HEAVENshow more

Rating details

16 ratings
4.12 out of 5 stars
5 50% (8)
4 25% (4)
3 12% (2)
2 12% (2)
1 0% (0)
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