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Purgatory: The Logic of Total Transformation Hardcover – December 1, 2011

ISBN-13: 978-0199732296 ISBN-10: 0199732299 Edition: 1st
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Editorial Reviews

Review


"Only Jerry Walls or C.S. Lewis could have written this splendid book on the history and philosophical theology of purgatory. It is clear, systematic, engaging, and illuminating."
-- Charles Taliaferro, Professor of Philosophy, St. Olaf College


"A fascinating account of the development of the doctrine of purgatory by a leading Wesleyan scholar. Walls traces Christian views on purgatory from the early church to C. S. Lewis and comes up with a surprisingly affirmative conclusion about a view of the afterlife that has divided Catholics and Protestants for nearly 500 years. An important and nuanced study."
-- Timothy George, dean of Beeson Divinity School of Samford University


"For a generation or more a stout Protestant doctrine of purgatory has been an accident waiting to happen. Given Jerry Walls's cheerful and articulate presentation, we can predict that a host of readers will be in no hurry to leave the scene until they have come to terms with this provocative proposal in analytic theology."
-- William J. Abraham, Albert Cook Outler Professor of Wesley Studies, Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University


"Historically informed, philosophically competent, and theologically alert, the result is an impressive book...This is a splendid treatment of the topic -- as careful and fair a discussion of the doctrine of purgatory as one is likely to find."--Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews


"Historically informed, philosophically competent, and theologically alert, the result is an impressive book...This is a splendid treatment of the topic -- as careful and fair a discussion of the doctrine of purgatory as one is likely to find."--Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews


About the Author


Jerry L. Walls has served as a Research Fellow in the Center for Philosophy of Religion at Notre Dame. He is the author of a trilogy on the afterlife, the first two volumes of which are Hell: The Logic of Damnation and Heaven: The Logic of Eternal Joy. He is also the editor of The Oxford Handbook of Eschatology.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 232 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (December 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199732299
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199732296
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 0.9 x 6.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #774,153 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Kyle Blanchette on March 2, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Jerry Walls has done something unique with this book: he has given an in-depth treatment and defense of the doctrine of purgatory from a distinctly Protestant perspective. This may seem jarring and perhaps even incoherent at first glance, given the general Protestant rejection of purgatory, but Walls shows that any theological system that affirms the necessity of full sanctification and the reality of human freedom with respect to salvation will have to face certain soteriological questions and puzzles that, Walls argues, have their most sensible answer in a doctrine of purgatory.

Walls navigates standard Protestant objections to purgatory, showing that a doctrine of purgatory can be motivated entirely by considerations of sanctification, rather than satisfaction for sins, thereby turning aside the "works righteousness" objection to purgatory. As such, Walls makes it clear that purgatory is not a substitute for the doctrine of justification--the forensic reckoning for the guilt of our sins--nor an alternative to the grace of God. Rather, on Walls' view, purgatory is about sanctification, which is the necessary soteriological complement of justification, and its intention is to give us the opportunity to experience God's completion of the work of transformation that He begins in this life. Walls makes the case that insofar as sanctification inherently involves a process of freely cooperating with God's grace over time, purgatory seems to be a theological necessity.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Linkman on February 27, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Purgatory: The Logic of Total Transformation is a rewarding and fascinating take on Purgatory, a time tested doctrine which is in dire need of an updated and fair defense. Thankfully, Dr. Walls provides such a defense.

In Walls' own words (from the book): "I offer my defense of Purgatory not as a dogma, but as a theological proposal that resolves issues and questions that no developed system can ignore." Make no mistake, this is no bullheaded, agenda-driven apologetic, but rather, and illuminating look at a doctrine which has gotten a raw deal as of late and needs some serious reconsideration.

A diverse and history spanning array of views on purgatory, ranging from absolute agreement to absolute opposition, are presented fairly within their historical contexts, and Walls does a fantastic job of laying them all out for broad consideration. The best bits of the various views are lifted out for your benefit, and the weakest inconsistencies are laid bare. Classic and modern objections to the doctrine are treated fairly and addressed thoroughly, which should challenge even the staunchest of anti-purgatory thinkers.

I encourage interested readers to resist fear of the subject brought on by the common, polarizing dogmas of contemporary theology, and approach the material with an open mind instead. Whether or not you find yourself swayed in the end, you will surely find your own beliefs sharpened on the iron of a sharply written, challenging but immensely readable treatise on this controversial topic.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Djcool955555 on October 14, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
For those who already believe in a non-traditional form of purgatory that sanctifies and transforms through suffering but does not punish retributively, this book would probably make you feel good.

For everyone else, most notably the protestants/evangelicals like myself who came to the book not believing in any sort of purgatory after death, the response would be mostly along the lines of “well, that’s very interesting that those Catholic theologians, Christian philosophers, and fiction writers believed those various things.” Truth be told, there isn’t much of an attempt (let alone successful completion) of a persuasive argument for purgatory. It’s kind of assumed, for the most part, that purgatory is true, and so the question is, what type of purgatory fits best with protestant theology. As far as an actual persuasive argument goes, pretty much it’s just a brief argument from free will that is sort of tacked on to the end of Chapter 4. In fact, more of an argument is put forth for the idea of post-mortem repentance of the unsaved than for purgatory itself(see Chapter 5).

The book has almost no scripture cited. A few passages are pointed to at the beginning as examples of verses that Roman Catholics use to show that the Bible teaches the doctrine of purgatory, though no real analysis is done on these. They aren’t used by Walls for or against the doctrine. It’s virtually all history and philosophical arguments (which generally rely on Walls’ specific view of election and free will). And again, most of them aren’t arguing for the doctrine of purgatory, but for post-mortem repentance (which doesn’t necessarily require purgatory, at least not for those who died as believers).
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