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Imagining the Medieval Afterlife
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Book description

Where do we go after we die? This book traces how the European Middle Ages offered distinctive answers to this universal question, evolving from Antiquity through to the sixteenth century, to reflect a variety of problems and developments. Focussing on texts describing visions of the afterlife, alongside art and theology, this volume explores heaven, hell, and purgatory as they were imagined across Europe, as well as by noted authors including Gregory the Great and Dante. A cross-disciplinary team of contributors including historians, literary scholars, classicists, art historians and theologians offer not only a fascinating sketch of both medieval perceptions and the wide scholarship on this question: they also provide a much-needed new perspective. Where the twelfth century was once the 'high point' of the medieval afterlife, the essays here show that the afterlives of the early and later Middle Ages were far more important and imaginative than we once thought.

Reviews

'Imagining the Medieval Afterlife presents an important attempt to offer an overview of medieval visions of the otherworld. In an impressive way, many of the chapters expand on and complement each other. In dialogue, these chapters give insight into various aspects of images of afterlife in the Christian Middle Ages, offering a comprehensive view while repeatedly pointing out that no conclusive findings can be drawn in such a limited space. The coherence and consistency of the articles, which combine both recent scholarship as well as many canonical sources, makes the volume easily accessible and establishes a very valuable resource for research as well as teaching.'

Annegret Oehme Source: Zeitschrift für interkulturelle Germanistik (ZIG)

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