The Ransom of the Soul: Afterlife and Wealth in Early Western Christianity

Marking a departure in our realizing of Christian perspectives of the afterlife from 250 to 650 CE, The Ransom of the Soul explores a innovative shift in pondering the destiny of the soul that happened round the time of Rome’s fall. Peter Brown describes how this shift reworked the Church’s institutional dating to funds and set the level for its domination of medieval society within the West.

Early Christian doctrine held that the residing and the lifeless, as both sinful beings, wanted one another so one can in achieving redemption. The devotional intercessions of the residing may tip the stability among heaven and hell for the deceased. within the 3rd century, cash started to play a decisive position in those practices, as prosperous Christians took ever extra tricky steps to guard their very own souls and the souls in their household within the afterlife. They secured privileged burial websites and made lavish donations to church buildings. through the 7th century, Europe used to be dotted with richly endowed monasteries and funerary chapels exhibiting in marble beauty the Christian devotion of the rich dead.

In reaction to the becoming impression of cash, Church doctrine about the afterlife advanced from hypothesis to company truth, and private wealth within the pursuit of redemption ended in notable feats of structure and acts of generosity. however it additionally brought on stormy debates approximately money’s right use―debates that resonated throughout the centuries and saved alive the elemental query of the way heaven and earth will be joined by way of human agency.

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