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Visiting the Places of the Dead in the Extra-Canonical Apocalypses

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Chapter Summary

This chapter presents a survey of a major theme in the extra-canonical apocalypses, both Jewish and Christian. Both the form and the contents of the extra-canonical apocalypses are quite diverse, and in many respects they differ markedly from anything within the canon of Scripture. A major concern of the whole apocalyptic tradition from beginning to end was the fate of the dead. Given that this literature is visionary literature, in which the apocalyptic seers are often transported into various parts of the cosmos, it is not surprising that one form which interest in the fate of the dead took in the apocalypses was that of visits to the places of the dead. The visionary is taken to view either the places where the dead are now or the places where the dead will be after the last judgment.

Keywords: extra-canonical apocalypses; last judgment; plaees of the dead; visionary literature



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