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    Description

    A New York Times best-selling historian of early Christianity takes on two of the most gripping questions of human existence: where did the ideas of heaven and hell come from, and why do they endure?

    What happens when we die? A recent Pew Research poll showed that 72 percent of Americans believe in a literal heaven, 58 percent in a literal hell. Most people who hold these beliefs are Christian and assume they are the age-old teachings of the Bible. But eternal rewards and punishments are found nowhere in the Old Testament and are not what Jesus or his disciples taught. 

    So where did the ideas come from? 

    In clear and compelling terms, Bart Ehrman recounts the long history of the afterlife, ranging from The Epic of Gilgamesh up to the writings of Augustine, focusing especially on the teachings of Jesus and his early followers. He discusses ancient guided tours of heaven and hell, in which a living person observes the sublime blessings of heaven for those who are saved and the horrifying torments of hell for the damned. Some of these accounts take the form of near-death experiences, the oldest on record, with intriguing similarities to those reported today.

    One of Ehrman’s startling conclusions is that there never was a single Greek, Jewish, or Christian understanding of the afterlife, but numerous competing views. Moreover, these views did not come from nowhere; they were intimately connected with the social, cultural, and historical worlds out of which they emerged. Only later, in the early Christian centuries, did they develop into the notions of eternal bliss or damnation widely accepted today.

    As a historian, Ehrman obviously cannot provide a definitive answer to the question of what happens after death. In Heaven and Hell, he does the next best thing: By helping us reflect on where our ideas of the afterlife come from, he assures us that even if there may be something to hope for when we die, there is certainly nothing to fear.

    ©2020 Bart D. Ehrman (P)2020 Simon & Schuster Audio

    Ce que les auditeurs disent de Heaven and Hell

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    Global
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    Commentaires - Veuillez sélectionner les onglets ci-dessous pour changer la provenance des commentaires.

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    • Global
      4 out of 5 stars
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    Image de profile pour Library Bob
    • Library Bob
    • 25/05/2020

    It may not be what you expect

    No, not the afterlife. The book.

    Ehrman is a scholar of Biblical literature and this book is a journey through the world of those ancient texts, showing how beliefs of the afterlife evolved over time. If you expect a comparison of world religions or definite answers to your questions, this is not that book. If you are interested in the historical and philosophical depth of books which became part of the Biblical canon and those which did not (and were later termed heretical), if you are interested in how these beliefs evolved over centuries, and if you question where your beliefs come from, this is that book. Many don't realize early Christians and early Christian writings confessed beliefs about universal salvation with no eternal damnation, or total nonexistence. None of these beliefs survived because it was easier to teach good boys and girls go to heaven if they do what the Bible says and bad boys and girls go to hell and church traditions continued to describe what good or bad meant and the rituals you did to prove you were one and not the other.
    If you are not a fan of philosophy and literature, this will drag. If you are, this will be stimulating.

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    Image de profile pour Amazon Customer
    • Amazon Customer
    • 14/04/2020

    Thorough Examination of the Bible and Apocrypha

    This is a very thorough examination of the after life. It examines what Jesus taught, old testament insight, the maccabees as their tortured, other apocryphal books and greek philosophies. Professor Ehrman's views are insightful and make us reexamine what the after life meant in ancient times and what it has come to mean post Jesus/The Roman Empire.

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    • Jeremy Finck
    • 09/04/2020

    Best accessible, academic overview on the topic

    By "on the topic", I mean from an historical & textual academic perspective on the early biblical Christian views on the afterlife.

    Perspectives on the afterlife have been diverse and hotly debated for millennia, and pre-date the Christian biblical texts and traditions.

    Even within Christianity, there has been a vast range of perspectives from the very beginning. And that diversity of beliefs and teachings has only increased as time has progressed.

    Ehrman does an impressive job of condensing vast swaths of content into a digestible sized book. He provides an excellent primer on the context and development of the various historical and textual trends that highlight the breadth and range of teachings over the millennia.

    Readers should be aware that this is not a theological work. And it's not intended to be a theological work. It is merely an accessible, academic overview of the historical record.

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    • mike t.
    • 10/04/2020

    Kudos × 10!

    Ehrman filled my cup to the brim! Could it be any better? "I think not"

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    Image de profile pour Hans Steinkellner
    • Hans Steinkellner
    • 05/04/2020

    a bit disappointing

    I have them all.... all of his books and was waiting hard for the new one - it left me a bit disappointed though..I don't know I thought he could have made that one a bit broader..comparing with other cultures,, religions.. - changes of how people viewed the afterlife over time - he kept to his field of expertise though.- ok understandable for a scientist... narration cosi cosi

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    Image de profile pour Amazon Customer
    • Amazon Customer
    • 11/08/2020

    Great effort seriously undermined by liberal bias

    Liberal bias seriously undercuts the value and credibility of this study. It does not appear that the author believes God had anything to do with the Bible nor that he even believes in the existence of God. To his credit the author states his biases up front in the Preface of the book. It appears the author has two main objectives in writing this book: (1) To prove that the traditional, Christian view of heaven and hell is based on Greek philosophy and (2) that the Bible has been shaped by centuries of human effort.

    Benefits of this book. The author has done a great job assimilating a wealth of ancient source material pertaining to the subject and it appears that he has done a good job in showing how and when the traditional, Christian view of heaven and hell developed throughout history. I believe the author has provided ample evidence to show that the traditional view basically a product of Greek philosophy, namely Platonic in origin. I also believe the author has done a good job of demonstrating that the Judeo tradition (based on the Hebrew Bible) did not have any notion that humans are bodies with spirits that depart the body after death. Instead, the Jewish tradition developed an apocalyptic view that envisioned a day of judgment when the dead would rise up (bodily). This was also the view of Jesus and Paul although some questions do arise regarding the other New Testament authors.

    If one does not believe that the Bible is inspired by God, then the author has also done a great job in showing how the traditional Christin view has evolved over time. However, for those of us who believe the Bible is in some way inspired by God, this book leaves much to be desired. The author’s position is that the Jewish view (and early Christian view) was by human design in response to new challenges and develops in Jewish history (not the product of revelation). Thus, whenever the author finds New Testament passages (e.g., Luke and John) that seem to differ from the Judeo tradition (and that of Jesus and Paul), he convenient counts these as later inventions by authors being influenced by Greek thought and needing to explain the delay in the coming of Christ.

    What I would like to have heard was a discussion as to how these so-called diverging passages might be interpreted other than dismissing them as later human inventions influenced by Greek thought. The author acknowledges that some interpretations have been presented, but he quickly dismisses them as implausible (liberal bias). I also found many of his interpretations of Biblical passages (which he dismisses) as being incorrect and rather unfair. He seems to pick these interpretations as they can be easily dismissed (like straw man). The author did this so much that it began to make me question his interpretation of all the other ancient texts that he interprets. Thus, one who believes the Bible is in some way inspired by God, I am left feeling uncertain about what the New Testament actually teaches on heaven, hell and the life between death and the resurrection. I, therefore, find it necessary to look for another book that will address the New Testament teaching on this subject in a way that is more fair and balanced (i.e., less biased and dismissive). Nevertheless, I do believe the author’s primary thesis is correct regarding the source of the traditional, Christian view of heaven and hell.


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    • Utilisateur anonyme
    • 07/04/2020

    essential reading and listening

    either you choose to understand what's been ingrained since birth regarding your family's religion or you choose not to understand. I am of the former ilk and find this work to be both thorough and fair given the sources for heaven and hell are all but minimally man-made.

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    • Amazon Customer
    • 06/09/2020

    Interesting

    Great review of how history and cultures have shaped Christian views, and general views, of the afterlife, assuming there is one

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    • John Rayburn Reed
    • 10/04/2020

    Great Book.

    Great book. Outstanding narrator. Controversial, but it makes you think. Well worth the reading time.

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    Image de profile pour Elizabeth
    • Elizabeth
    • 22/05/2020

    Thank you so much, Bart D. Ehrman.

    I was raised in a Christian household. A household where I was not aloud to have my own opinions because a man of God needs to have his house in order to lead others. I went to a church that taught that the bible was the inspired word of God and it was all true. Where it was taught that if a child died before they were baptized, they went to hell. That women have no right to teach men. That homosexuality is an abomination and punishable by eternal damnation. That parents should not want happiness for their children, they should want salvation for them. A church where predestination was the way of this existence. I was taught to fear God's wrath. I struggled. I didn't see myself as evil.. But that didn't matter. If I was not saved, I was damed. I eventually came to the only logical conclusion.. if my father was correct.. If the bible was the infallible word of God.. Then God simply did not want me. And who am I to question.. I left at that house and that church at 18 years of age to follow my own path.. Be it a damned one.

    I cannot claim to have read the entire bible, but I hope to someday make that claim. I have taken classes in philosophy of religion and ethics. I have read many works of Joseph Campbell. I have read books like The Lakota Way and others on world religions. And with Audible I have listened to many of the wonderful Great Courses. This is where I first had the pleasure of listening to Mr. Ehrman..

    I know many will not like what he has to say in this book and in others. And you certainly don't have to. But it is a wealth of knowledge and I intend to listen to more of his books.

    Thank you, again, Bart D. Ehrman. I appreciate your words. I appreciate your knowledge. If I could, I would shake your hand.

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    Image de profile pour Norjen
    • Norjen
    • 20/07/2020

    A history and a personal account

    To start with: If you look for certainties you will not find any in this book. No afterlife, afterlive only for a chosen few, afterlive for the good, afterlive for the faithful, non-existence for the sinful, eternal torture for the sinful: All this and more was and is believed. So make your choice.
    Regardless if you are religious or not, the stories contained in this book are brethtaking. And the reader J. B. Lloyd is one of the best I have ever listen to!