By Alan F. Segal
A magisterial paintings of social historical past, lifestyles After demise illuminates the various alternative ways old civilizations grappled with the query of what precisely occurs to us once we die.
In a masterful exploration of the way Western civilizations have outlined the afterlife, Alan F. Segal weaves jointly biblical and literary scholarship, sociology, historical past, and philosophy. A well known pupil, Segal examines the maps of the afterlife present in Western non secular texts and divulges not just what a number of cultures believed yet how their notions mirrored their societies’ realities and beliefs, and why these ideals replaced through the years. He keeps that the afterlife is the reflect within which a society arranges its thought of the self. The composition method for Judaism, Christianity, and Islam starts in grief and results in the victory of the self over death.
Arguing that during each spiritual culture the afterlife represents the final word present for the great, Segal combines old and anthropological information with insights gleaned from non secular and philosophical writings to provide an explanation for the next mysteries: why the Egyptians insisted on an afterlife in heaven, whereas the physique was once embalmed in a tomb in the world; why the Babylonians considered the lifeless as residing in underground prisons; why the Hebrews remained silent approximately lifestyles after dying in the course of the interval of the 1st Temple, but embraced it within the moment Temple interval (534 B.C.E. –70 C.E.); and why Christianity put the afterlife within the middle of its trust process. He discusses the interior dialogues and arguments inside of Judaism and Christianity, displaying the underlying dynamic in the back of them, in addition to the information that mark the diversities among the 2 religions. In a considerate exam of the impact of biblical perspectives of heaven and martyrdom on Islamic ideals, he bargains a desirable standpoint at the present troubling upward thrust of Islamic fundamentalism.
In tracing the natural, ancient relationships among sacred texts and groups of trust and evaluating the visions of lifestyles after loss of life that experience emerged all through background, Segal sheds a shiny, revealing mild at the intimate connections among notions of the afterlife, the societies that produced them, and the individual’s look for the last word that means of existence in the world.
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Additional info for Life After Death: A History of the Afterlife in Western Religion
Crucial for Torrance here is the figure of Athanasius, who can be said in some way or other to appear as a real presence in all of his thought. Part of his importance is to serve as the patristic forerunner of what Barth is in the modern age, although, as we shall see, that is only a part of a wide-ranging appeal. Athanasius served Torrance as a theologian of God's being as Barth served as a theologian of his act - though the greatness of both is that they integrated the two - and it would be difficult to exaggerate the importance for him, in all aspects of his work, of the principle of the homoousion.
That is another implication of the fact that God's presence among us is real. What you see is what you get. 'Everything is what it is and not another thing,' as Bishop Butler famously remarked. God is this particular kind of being, and not the gods of the heathen or of our human projections about what we think God ought to be like. He is one God only in this way, to be loved, worshipped and praised in the unutterable richness of his being; and it is no accident that so many of our confessions of worship have taken trinitarian form.
As sinful human beings, we don't want to bother with the other, except as the object of our needs, someone to be exploited. But the order of creation, our personal being, is that we cannot be ourselves without others. Breaches of this order are what we call sin because they arise from a distorted relation to our creator, and so a false relation to one another. The triune God's gracious dispensation is that we need each other if we are to be truly and particularly ourselves. One of the things of which much has been made in recent writing about the Trinity is that this view of persons as being from and for and with one another in their very otherness contrasts with both of the dominant theories of social order in the modern world: the individualist, that we are like atoms which are only accidentally related to other human beings; and the collectivist, which makes us simply exist for the sake of the whole.