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Paradise Mislaid: How We Lost Heaven and How We Can Regain It

by

Paradise Mislaid: How We Lost Heaven and How We Can Regain It Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

The Christian concept of heaven flourished for almost two millennia, but it has lost much of its power in the last hundred years. Indeed today even theologians tend to avoid the topic. This stimulating book sets out to rehabilitate heaven by forcefully attacking a series of ideas that have made belief in heaven, not to mention belief in God, increasingly difficult for modern people. The author provides elegant and persuasive refutations of arguments ranging from the idea that science has disproved the existence of the supernatural, to the notion that biblical criticism has emptied the scripture of meaning. Along the way, as Russell looks at the ideas of Charles Darwin and Herbert Spencer, Mark Twain and Alfred Lord Tennyson, Marx and Freud, and a host of others, he sheds light not only on the history of Christian thought, but on the process of secularization in the West. One by one, Russell refutes these anti-religious ideologies, pinpointing the deficiencies of their reasoning.

"A marvelous overview of the many philosophical, literary, social, and even religious forces that have challenged the concept of heaven.... Russell's elegant and richly textured survey of heaven offers a first-rate history of a much-debated subject."

--Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Believers and unbelievers alike will find much here to challenge their thinking.... Russell argues that, far from hiding dark realities behind pretty illusions, the great metaphors of Christianity--from the luminous New Jerusalem of Revelation to the heavenly chariot of African American spirituals--gesture toward realities too cosmic to fit within ordinary language."

--Booklist (starred review)

Patient, generous, eloquent, it delivers to the ordinary reader a brilliant analysis of the long battle for Christian ideas. Russell shrinks from nothing as he pierces the illusions surrounding skepticism and cynicism and how these biases have come to dominate our daily lives. Vitally important for those of us who struggle to articulate the richness of the faith they hold dear."

--Anne Rice

Synopsis:

The Christian concept of heaven flourished for almost two millennia, but it has lost much of its power in the last hundred years. Indeed today even theologians tend to avoid the topic. But heaven has always been a central tenet of the Christian faith, writes Jeffrey Burton Russell. If there is no heaven, no resurrection of the dead, the entire Christian story makes no sense.

In this stimulating book, Russell sets out to rehabilitate heaven by forcefully attacking a series of ideas that have made belief in heaven, not to mention belief in God, increasingly difficult for modern people. Russell provides elegant and persuasive refutations of arguments ranging from the idea that science has disproved the existence of the supernatural, to the notion that biblical criticism has emptied the scripture of meaning. Along the way, as Russell looks at the ideas of Charles Darwin and Herbert Spencer, Mark Twain and Alfred Lord Tennyson, Marx and Freud, and a host of others, he sheds light not only on the history of Christian thought, but on the process of secularization in the West. One by one, Russell refutes these anti-religious ideologies, pinpointing the deficiencies of their reasoning.

Throughout the book, Russell invites the reader, whatever his or her beliefs, to take the concept of heaven seriously both as a worldview in itself and as one with enormous influence on the world. It is a book that will be welcomed by thinking Christians, who often feel beleaguered by the forces of modernity and sometimes find it hard to defend their own beliefs.

About the Author

Jeffrey Burton Russell is Emeritus Professor of History at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He is well known for a series of books on the history of Satan and evil, as well as A History of Heaven--a book that was favorably reviewed in media as diverse as Time Magazine, The New York Times, The Times Literary Supplement, and Christianity Today.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780195334586
Publisher:
Oxford University Press, USA
Subject:
Religion
Author:
Russell, Jeffrey Burton
Author:
null, Jeffrey Burton
Subject:
Christian Theology - History
Subject:
Christian Theology - Eschatology
Subject:
Theology | History of Christianity | Modern
Subject:
Religion and Theology | History of Christianity | Modern
Subject:
History
Subject:
Church History
Subject:
Heaven -- History of doctrines.
Subject:
Religion & Theology | History of Christianity | Modern
Subject:
Christianity-Eschatology
Publication Date:
20071031
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
Professional and scholarly
Language:
English
Pages:
224
Dimensions:
8.90x5.82x.68 in. .72 lbs.

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Politics » United States » Foreign Policy
Religion » Christianity » Eschatology
Religion » Christianity » History
Religion » Comparative Religion » General
Religion » Western Religions » Theology

Paradise Mislaid: How We Lost Heaven and How We Can Regain It Sale Trade Paper
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Product details 224 pages Oxford University Press, USA - English 9780195334586 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , The Christian concept of heaven flourished for almost two millennia, but it has lost much of its power in the last hundred years. Indeed today even theologians tend to avoid the topic. But heaven has always been a central tenet of the Christian faith, writes Jeffrey Burton Russell. If there is no heaven, no resurrection of the dead, the entire Christian story makes no sense.

In this stimulating book, Russell sets out to rehabilitate heaven by forcefully attacking a series of ideas that have made belief in heaven, not to mention belief in God, increasingly difficult for modern people. Russell provides elegant and persuasive refutations of arguments ranging from the idea that science has disproved the existence of the supernatural, to the notion that biblical criticism has emptied the scripture of meaning. Along the way, as Russell looks at the ideas of Charles Darwin and Herbert Spencer, Mark Twain and Alfred Lord Tennyson, Marx and Freud, and a host of others, he sheds light not only on the history of Christian thought, but on the process of secularization in the West. One by one, Russell refutes these anti-religious ideologies, pinpointing the deficiencies of their reasoning.

Throughout the book, Russell invites the reader, whatever his or her beliefs, to take the concept of heaven seriously both as a worldview in itself and as one with enormous influence on the world. It is a book that will be welcomed by thinking Christians, who often feel beleaguered by the forces of modernity and sometimes find it hard to defend their own beliefs.

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