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The Formation of Hell


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Table of Contents

Preface Note on Translations Introduction: Babylonia and Egypt PART ONE. The Netherworlds of Greece and Rome I. Neutral Death 2. Moral Death 3. Porous Death 4. Useful Death PART TWO. The Afterlife in Ancient Judaism 5. Spirits of the Dead 6. Dividing the Dead 7. Eternal Punishment PART THREE. Hell in the New Testament 8. Destruction 9. Damnation 10. The Myth behind Hell PART FOUR. Tensions in Early Christianity 11. Divine Sovereignty 12. Divine Mercy 13. Eternity Defended Conclusion Bibliography General Index Index of Biblical References

About the Author

Alan E. Bernstein is Emeritus Professor of Medieval History at the University of Arizona. He is the author of Hell and Its Rivals:Death and Retribution among Christians, Jews, and Muslims in the Early Middle Ages andThe Formation of Hell: Death and Retribution in the Ancient and Early Christian Worlds, both from Cornell.


"An absorbing history."-Frances Taliaferro, Washington Post Book World "The Formation of Hell is learned and accurate; it is sensitive; it is subtle and sophisticated; it is historiographically sound; it is written with great clarity and refreshing freedom from jargon. This will be the standard work for many decades to come."-Jeffrey Burton Russell, author of The Devil: Perceptions of Evil from Antiquity to Primitive Christianity "Bernstein's study is captivating, and should certainly become the standard work on the history of... an important image in Western civilization."-Tony Gray, Journal of Roman Studies "The Formation of Hell is a superb book that brings clarity to a complex, puzzling and terrifying subject."-Edward L. Mark, Boston Globe "Bernstein draws on sources from Babylonia, Egypt, Greece, Rome, and Israel as well as the early Christian community to reconstruct the story of the various poets, priests, and religious leaders who fashioned concepts of hell based on ideas of death and justice... This book is an outstanding account of a central image of Western thought and should be of interest to students of history, religion, literature, philosophy, and mythology."-Robert G. Clouse, American Historical Review "This book displays the breath and breadth of life in history more than any merely analytical study could do. It illuminates and deepens us with its humanity and its rare lucidity of style."- Jeffrey Burton Russell, Journal of Religion

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