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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 wondering the destiny of the soul that happened round the time of Rome’s fall. Peter Brown describes how this shift remodeled the Church’s institutional dating to cash and set the degree for its domination of medieval society within the West.

Early Christian doctrine held that the dwelling and the lifeless, as both sinful beings, wanted one another with the intention to in attaining redemption. The devotional intercessions of the residing may well tip the stability among heaven and hell for the deceased. within the 3rd century, cash started to play a decisive function in those practices, as prosperous Christians took ever extra complicated 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. by means of the 7th century, Europe used to be dotted with richly endowed monasteries and funerary chapels exhibiting in marble elegance the Christian devotion of the rich dead.

In reaction to the starting to be impression of cash, Church doctrine in regards to the afterlife advanced from hypothesis to company truth, and private wealth within the pursuit of redemption resulted in outstanding feats of structure and acts of generosity. however it additionally caused stormy debates approximately money’s right use―debates that resonated in the course of the centuries and saved alive the basic query of ways heaven and earth might be joined through human agency.

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