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date: 03 June 2020

Abstract and Keywords

In two main parts, this chapter treats the complex relationship between Scripture interpretation and early Christian imaginings of heaven and hell. The first part surveys the resources found in scriptural traditions (including some texts eventually excluded from the canon) for the Christian development of heaven and hell. The second part looks at representative examples of early Christian exegesis with respect to the following topics: corporeality in the afterlife, the status of the dead now before the resurrection, millennialism, universal salvation, the apocatastasis, the development of purgatory and prayer for the dead, Christ’s ‘harrowing of hell’, the differentiation of rewards in heaven, and the nature of the rewards and punishments in heaven and hell respectively.

Keywords: heaven, hell, corporeality, afterlife, resurrection, millennialism, universal salvation, apocatastasis, purgatory, harrowing of hell

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