Saturday, July 11, 2009

Alan Segal on the Afterlife

My students often express surprise when I tell them that the "immortality of the soul" is not properly a Christian doctrine. That's not exactly true, especially when we count liturgy (and not only classical creeds) as an index of Christian doctrine, but it's true enough to get them thinking.

They're also surprised when I mention that it's a "new" idea in the time of Jesus.

Just this week I came across a contribution on the topic by Alan Segal on Loren Rosson's blog. I admire Alan a great deal. He is the author of Life After Death: A History of the Afterlife in Western Religion. If you're interested, take a moment to read Alan's entry. Then if you're really interested, go ahead and buy the book.

For an alternative take on the history of resurrection hope in Israel, see Jon D. Levenson's Resurrection and the Restoration of Israel.

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