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The Ransom of the Soul

In Harvard University Press, Late Antiquity, Latin Christianity, Peter BROWN, Piotr Ashwin-Siejkowski, Purgatory on March 4, 2016 at 4:23 pm


2016.03.04 | Peter Brown. The Ransom of the Soul: Afterlife and Wealth in Early Western Christianity (Cambridge, MA/London, UK: Harvard University Press, 2015). Pp. 262. Hardcover. ISBN: 9780674967588.

Review by Piotr Ashwin-Siejkowski, King’s College London.

Many thanks to HUP  for providing the review copy.

Peter Brown does not need any introduction as a prominent scholar and historian of the late antiquity. His previous books on, for example, Augustine of Hippo and early Christian views on sexuality and renunciation, are now regarded as classics. Brown’s recent study, as he states (p. Xi), continues the approach from his previous important volume: “Through the Eyes of a Needle”: Wealth, the Fall of Rome, and the Making of Christianity in the West, 350 – 550 AD (Princeton University Press, 2012). However the current collection of lectures adds a new dimension to the discussion. It raises the question: what will happen to our souls when we die? Brown as historian offers insightful comments on the development of the notion of purgatory in the Western theological tradition. Read the rest of this entry »