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HISTORY OF HEAVEN

HISTORY OF HEAVEN
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Well known for his historical accounts of Satan and hell, Jeffrey Burton Russell here explores the brighter side of eternity: heaven. Dispensing with the cliche images of goodness that can make even heaven seem unbearable, the author stimulates our imagination with a history of how the joy of paradise has been conceived by writers, philosophers, and artists for whom heaven was an imminent reality. Russell not only explores concepts found among the ancient Jews, Greeks, and Romans, as well as early and medieval Christians, but also addresses the intellectual problems heaven poses: how does time "pass" in eternity? is heaven a place or a state? who is in and who is not? what happens to the body and soul between death and Judgment Day? Russell stresses that the best way to approach the logic-defying concept of a place occupying neither space nor time is through poetry and paradox, and through the visions of such mystics as Bernard, Julian of Norwich, and Eckhart. Using current scholarly insights together with a vast store of knowledge gathered from the past, Russell takes the idea of heaven as valid and important in itself - something to be understood from the point of view of those believing in it. His very use of language immerses us in the thoughts of those who have sought heaven and provides rich material for contemplation.
ISBN: 
9780691006840
Binding: 
Paperback
Publication Date: 
January 3, 1999