Heaven and Hell: A History of the Afterlife

S. & S. Mar. 2020. 352p. ISBN 9781501136733. $28. REL
Ehrman (religious studies, Univ. of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Misquoting Jesus) is a skilled and erudite revealer of patterns and oddities found in the bible. Here, he turns his talents to questions of the afterlife. It’s rare to encounter something fresh and new about this topic, but Ehrman has a gift for distilling new findings in biblical scholarship and conveying these ideas in accessible ways. He explicates the evolution in our understanding of ultimate justice and relates the concept of an eternal abode to the enigma of mind-body dualism. Ehrman’s account may lead readers to reconsider some cherished preconceptions. Expect delightful, informative examinations of ancient ideas about heaven and hell; ideas that have evolved as human needs and desires have also evolved.
VERDICT Recommended for those who appreciate popular approaches to religious studies and anyone curious about their final destination.
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