Join us in congratulating Bart Ehrman, the James A. Gray Distinguished Professor in Ancient Mediterranean Religions. His recent book Journeys to Heaven and Hell: Tours of the Afterlife in the Early Christian Tradition has made the New Yorker’s Best of 2022 list!
Ehrman follows up his masterly history of concepts of the afterlife with one about narratives in which a living soul—like Dante led by Virgil—is given a tour of what awaits us after death. Focussing on pre-Christian and early-Christian literature, Ehrman shows how Homer’s egalitarian afterlife, where all meet the same fate, gave way to Virgil’s version, where an elect few enjoy eternal rewards while the rest suffer torments. Early Christians imagined Hell as a punishment for nonbelievers, but it was gradually cast as an elaborate realm that terrorized even the faithful. As Ehrman notes, in every era, such tales aimed to teach readers “how to live in the here and now.”
Posted in News & Events on January 19, 2023. Bookmark the permalink.