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"The Holy Contest": Competition For The Best Afterlife In The Apocalypse Of Paul And Late Antique Egypt

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Chapter Summary

This chapter focuses on Augustine and the late antique Egyptian visions. A tour apocalypse that details rewards and punishments after death, Apoc. Paul follows Paul as he ascends into heaven to watch souls judged by God and then descends to the outer edges of the river ocean, outside of the inhabited world, to witness the souls' reward in the East and punishment in the West. The Acherusian Lake is a common feature of the afterlife in both Greco-Roman sources, perhaps most famously Plato's Dialogue of the Soul, and early Jewish and Christian apocalypses, such as the Apocalypse of Moses. Although the competition was ostensibly with oneself, the very order of the Pachomian monasteries with a father over each monastery and a housemaster over each house in the monastery suggests a hierarchical structure which could lead to competition for limited advancement to a higher rank.

Keywords: Acherusian Lake; Apocalypse; Egypt; God; monastery; Moses; Paul



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