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

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 progressive 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 courting to funds and set the degree for its domination of medieval society within the West.

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

In reaction to the becoming effect of cash, Church doctrine in regards to the afterlife advanced from hypothesis to enterprise fact, and private wealth within the pursuit of redemption resulted in remarkable 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 stored alive the basic query of ways heaven and earth will be joined via human agency.

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