The History of Hell

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9780151409341: The History of Hell

This is a survey of how, over the past 4000 years, religious leaders, poets, painters and others have visualized hell - its location, architecture, furnishings, purpose and inhabitants. From the beginning of recorded history people all over the world have believed in an afterlife which includes the concept of hell. Hell has always inspired more interest than heaven, especially among painters and poets. Medieval paintings, the extraordinary creations of Hieronymous Bosch, the darker visions of Dore, William Blake's inspired images and poetry, and the descriptions of hell by Virgil, Marlowe, Milton, Goethe, Byron and many others have all contributed to our understanding of the subject. In our own day, Sigmund Freud may be said to have had insight into the darker regions of the soul. This historical study surveys the many versions of hell - the Mesopotamian, Babylonian, Egyptian, Greek, Roman, Old and New Testament versions and the hells of the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, the Reformation and later centuries. Our ideas of hell are constantly changing, and this illustrated history, from Gigomesh to Samuel Beckett, attempts to show how they are changing and why.

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