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Differentiated Fates In Greco-Roman Sources

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Chapter Summary

The most obvious feature in the afterlife scene in the story of the Rich Man and Lazarus is the separation of the dead. Lazarus is consoled in Abraham’s bosom but the rich man finds himself in torments in Hades. Belief in differentiated fates after death is well attested in several sources from Greco-Roman period. This differentiation is made either on cultic grounds (initiates receive a better lot than the uninitiated) or on moral grounds (the just are rewarded, the wicked are punished). Despite the multiplicity of different views and contrasting ideas even within a single corpus of writings, the Greco-Roman sources from the Hellenistic and Roman periods attest a strong strand of belief in differentiated fates for different souls after death. Often the division is made on moral grounds; the good are rewarded and the wicked are punished.

Keywords: Abraham; afterlife scene; cultic grounds; differentiated fates; Greco-Roman sources; Hades; Lazarus; moral grounds; Rich Man



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