It’s interesting that for much of its history, Judaism didn’t even have a concept of an afterlife or an animating soul. Both of those ideas were unusual in the Mediterranean world in general.

Greek shades and Roman lemurs were thought of as mere echoes of a former existence, not an essential, animating human spirit.

So one would think that if early Christians had set out to popularize an afterlife with eternal reward and/or punishment of souls, they would have written about it clearly and explicitly.

Instead all we get are passages that might be seen to allude to such things … if the reader already knows about what’s being discussed.

To modern readers, it all seems obvious, because it’s what we’re taught. But it isn’t biblical. It isn’t textual.

It’s interpretation of centuries of post-New-Testament-era myth-making. The images we have of heaven or hell could never be reconstructed by someone just reading biblical sources.

It’s amazing to me that so many people don’t know that.

Writer. Runner. Marine. Airman. Former LGBTQ and HIV activist. Former ActUpNY and Queer Nation. Polyglot. Middle-aged, uppity faggot.

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