Our Enduring Fascination With the Afterlife

Book - 2010
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A groundbreaking and accessible history of heaven--from the earliest biblical conceptions of the afterlife to the theologians who frame our understandings, to the convictions and perceptions of everyday people. Drawing on history and popular culture, biblical research and everyday beliefs, religion journalist Lisa Miller offers a new understanding of one of the most cherished ideals of spiritual life. She discusses not just our visions of the afterlife, but how our beliefs have influenced the societies we have built and the lifestyles to which we have subscribed. She also reveals how the notion of heaven has been used for manipulation--to promulgate goodness and evil--as inspiration for selfless behavior, and as justification for mass murder. From the Revelation to the Left Behind series, Augustine to bin Laden, Muslims in the West Bank to American Mormons baptizing their dead, this is a penetrating look at a cherished religious ideal.--From publisher description.
Publisher: New York, NY : Harper, [2010], ©2010
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780060554750
Branch Call Number: 202.3 Mi
Description: xxvii, 331 pages ; 24 cm


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debwalker May 29, 2011

Is heaven a place on earth?

Belinda Carlisle once sang that "heaven is a place on Earth" and Robert Smith of The Cure once sang about his lover being "just like heaven." Countless songs, from Eric Clapton to Led Zeppelin, express our idea of the afterlife, and music represents just a part of our fascination with heaven.

Author and Newsweek religion editor Lisa Miller explored musical lyrics and 2,000 years of other writing for her book Heaven: Our Enduring Fascination with the Afterlife. In the book, she provides a vast history of the afterlife across cultures — and she finds that while our notion of heaven may vary by our religion, the desire for an afterlife is universal.

CBC Books

May 07, 2011

I didn't realize I had some sort of expectation for this book until I realized that I was disappointed after reading it. While Miller is a good writer, has done her research and presents a coherent set of ideas, I just wan't grabbed. Concepts of heaven have plenty of history in Christianity, Judiasm and Islam - so the book felt particularly religion-heavy. But then again, what was I expecting?

I suppose I found it a bit bland, that's all - I bet plenty of other will have and will enjoy this book, and they wouldn't be wrong to do so.


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