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Extent: Paperback

Pages: 480

Publisher: OUP USA

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After Lives

by John Casey

$18.53

    Notify Me

  PRE-ORDER
       

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.


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 prose, 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.



Table of Contents



Part I: Dark Futures

Prologue: Stephen Dedalus's Hell
Chapter One: After Lives
Chapter Two: Egypt
Chapter Three: Mesopotamia And Israel
Chapter Four: Greece And Rome
Chapter Five: The Christian Beginnings
Chapter Six: Dante: Inferno
Chapter Seven: Predestination: Augustine To Calvin And Beyond
Chapter Eight: The Decline Of Hell

Part II: Purgatory

Chapter Nine: Rome's Happiest Inspiration?


Part III: Heaven


Chapter Ten: Heaven: Egypt, Mesopotamia, Israel
Chapter Eleven: Bodies Fleshly And Spiritual
Chapter Twelve: Dante: Paradiso
Chapter Thirteen: Celestial Pleasures: Renaissance and Reformation Heavens
Chapter Fourteen: Heavenly Speculations
Chapter Fifteen: Heaven Seen And Heard: Swedenborg
Chapter Sixteen: With Easy Intercourse Pass To And Fro
Chapter Seventeen: Scoring In Heaven

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