Imagining Heaven in the Middle Ages: A Book of Essays

Jan S. Emerson
Routledge, 2014 M03 19 - 364 páginas
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Medieval attempts to capture a glimpse of heaven range from the ethereal to the mundane, utilizing media as diverse as maps, cathedrals, songs, treatises, poems, visions and sewer systems. Heaven was at once the goal of the individual Christian life and the end of the cosmic plan. It was, simply stated, perfection. But interpretations varied from the traditional to the dangerously unique as artists and authors, theologians and visionaries struggled to define that perfection. Depending on the source, heaven's attributes vary from height to depth, darkness to light, silence to symphony; the souls within it from activity to passivity, experience to essence, participation to distant admiration. Questions addressed in this anthology include: Are erotic and spiritual love mutually exclusive? Does the soul's happiness depend on the resurrection of the body? What will be the nature of the transfigured body? Will it retain its gender? Will it have senses? Will it know desire? How can desire and fulfillment exist together? Can the human soul ever know God? Contributors to this volume examine well-known and previously unexplored texts and artefacts from historical and art historical, theological, philosophical, and literary perspectives, to complement and challenge more general surveys of the history of heaven, and above all to illuminate the richness and variety of medieval Christian ideas on heaven.

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