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A History of Heaven: The Singing Silence Hardcover – March 27, 1997
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From Library Journal
Historian Russell (Inventing the Flat Earth, Praeger, 1991) offers ever deepening insights into the human notion of heaven from its inception around 200 B.C. until Dante's Divine Comedy in 1321 C.E. He takes on such topics as metaphorical ontology and physical cosmology, visions of paradise and images of angels, apocalypticism and gnosticism, resurrection and the immortality of the soul, predestination and free will, and love and justice. Although his book culminates in the medieval conceptions of heaven, its interest in these matters remains in many ways present-day. His work holds plenty of historical information on heaven drawn from early and medieval Christianity, yet its style is clear and readable. It will be of interest to readers of popular religion, informed lay readers, and historians of religion. Highly recommended for all general-interest and theological research libraries.?Robert H. O'Connell, Colorado Christian Univ., Denver
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Russell's account of the concept of heaven from the second century B.C.E. to the middle of the fourteenth century is rich in historical detail, which will acquaint general readers with the development of a theological concept that has been of central importance in all three "Western" religious traditions--Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Russell's focus, as he notes in the preface, is Christian theology; but his account is relevant to all three traditions. Apart from theological and historical illumination that includes an excellent bibliography and lucid summary of a formidable range of philosophical and theological literature, this is an eloquent celebration of Dante's literary genius. Russell ends with Dante's fourteenth-century account of paradise because, he says, human language has gone no further than this sublime singing of God's silence. If that inspires readers to attend to Dante, to human language, or to silence, the book will be a contribution of lasting literary and spiritual significance as well as a contribution to historical scholarship; for no matter how involved the discussion is, it never loses the interested layperson. Steve Schroeder
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Top Customer Reviews
Also Recommending these books by Russell:
Devil: Perceptions of Evil from Antiquity to Primitive Christianity (Cornell Paperbacks)
Witchcraft in the Middle Ages
Chapter 2 was terrible and I put the book down
- You might get a few ideas about what SOME PEOPLE think heaven MIGHT be like (if you can get through the entire book, because the goodies are scattered far and few between)
- All those questions you want to know about heaven? Good luck finding them. He asks questions without answers scattered throughout the whole book.
- Very scattered writings. Nothing seems to be in one place. Hard to follow any logical order to the book. It just rambles.
- Difficult reading, easy to lose track of a thought (and some people think the King James was hard? ha!) Good luck for the average reader.