Death and the Afterlife in the New Testament / Edition 1 available in Paperback
- Pub. Date:
- Bloomsbury Academic
Clark-Soles began this project in order to answer the question, "What exactly does the New Testament say about death and afterlife?" It turbans out that it says both more and less than one might hope or expect. By more, she means that every time the subject of death and what happens after death arises, it is clear that the authors' interests far exceed answering that single question. Their comments emerge from the concerns and experiences of living Christian communities, they relate to a larger theological and pastoral agenda, and their primary focus remains life on earth and the proper living of it.
The texts say less than one may hope because no author sets out to answer my question directly. There is no systematic theology in the New Testament regarding death and aftelife. Certainly resurrection appears throughout, though differently emphasized and interpreted. Beyond that, the fascinating aspects of the question are in the details of the texts. Therefore, the appropriate question, as it turbans out, is not: What does the New Testament say about death and afterlife, but what do various New Testament texts say about it? Others have sought to unify the New Testament witness, glossing over the individual pictures presented by the New Testament authors. Clark-Soles revels in the snapshots of the individuals and am less interested in the family photo.
Clark-Soles inquires into the specific language that each author uses regarding death and afterlife. She explores anthropology, cosmology, eschatology, and, where relevant, theology and Christology. Finally, Clark-Soles suggests ways that the stated views function in each situation.
|Edition description:||New Edition|
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.57(d)|
About the Author
Jaime Clark-Soles is Assistant Professor of New Testament at Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University, and the author of Scripture Cannot Be Broken: The Social Function of the Use of Scripture in the Fourth Gospel.
Table of Contents
Chapter One sets the investigation against a backdrop of options deployed by thinkers and cultures which contributed to the discussion before the New Testament joined it. This includes Ancient Near Eastern, Ancient Jewish, Second Temple Jewish, and Hellenistic materials. The chapter draws upon epitaphs, graves, Roman religions, mystery religions, consolation literature, and Hellenistic philosophy. It addresses particular topics such as anthropology, notions of divine judgment, and the origins of heaven, hell, and Satan.
Chapter two examines the Pauline literature, using 1 Corinthians 15 as a case study. This chapter is often considered the classic statement on Christian afterlife.
Chapter three takes up the Gospel of John and compares and contrasts John with Paul's letters. Neither Paul nor John use hell language.
Chapter four is devoted to the gospel of Matthew. Hell language and imagery abounds in Matthew. Matthew's depiction of death and afterlife functions to enjoin ethical behavior, encourage faithfulness, and certify God's character as righteous and just.
Chapter five addresses 1 Peter, famous for its supposed depiction of Jesus' "descent into hell" and the subsequent development of the notion of purgatory.
Chapter six summarizes the book's findings and offers concluding comparisons and contrasts among the authors, with consideration paid to their social and cultural millieu.