The Church, the Afterlife and the Fate of the Soul: Papers Read at the 2007 Summer Meeting and the 2008 Winter Meeting of the Ecclesiastical History Society

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Peter D. Clarke, Tony Claydon
Ecclesiastical History Society, 2009 - Religion - 429 pages
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"The Christian Church's ideas about the afterlife have always been central to its thought, and may have played the vital role in the spread of the faith itself. One sixth-century pagan was reported by Bede to have likened human life to a sparrow flying swiftly through a well-lit hall from dark to dark: for him at least, the church's promise of light beyond that brief traverse was reason enough to convert. Beyond this basic attraction of the Christian afterlife, notions and disputes about what happened to souls after death have been inseparably entangled in the Church's history." "As this wide ranging collection shows, they influenced the early formation of doctrine, flavoured debates between Eastern and Western traditions, were crucial to the Reformation, and shaped the spread of the Christian religion beyond Europe. By considering the whole chronological and geographic spread of the church's experience, these essays demonstrate the current excitement of scholarly study of the afterlife: and they frequently question such deeply held assumptions as the late development of purgatory in Christian thought, the divorce between the living and the dead in the western tradition after the sixteenth century, or the importance of post-death salvation in successful modern evangelism."--BOOK JACKET.

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About the author (2009)

Tony Claydon is Senior Lecturer in History at the School of History and Welsh History, University of Wales, Bangor. His previous publications include William III and the Godly Revolution (1996) and, as co-editor, Protestantism and National Identity: Britain and Ireland, 1650-1850 (1998).

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