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The Washing of Adam in the Acherusian Lake (Greek Life of Adam and Eve 37.3) in the Context of Early Christian Notions of the Afterlife

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Chapter Summary

This chapter considers some basic facts about the Life of Adam and Eve in its different versions, and refers to some recent studies. In a very informative article Erik Peterson has gathered most of the important parallels to the passage concerning the Acherusian Lake and discussed them in detail. Plato's statements about the Acherusian Lake are found in a long disquisition of Socrates on the future destination of the soul. The Apocalypse of Paul clearly preserves elements of the apocalyptic tradition of the Acherusian Lake (Group 1), notably the emphasis on repentance, the delivery to the angel (Michael), the baptism in the Acherusian Lake, and the passage into Paradise. In its derived Latin version, at least, the Apocalypse of Paul promotes the ascetic life; those who practice chastity and asceticism are said to be welcomed at the river of milk (22; 26).

Keywords: Acherusian Lake; Apocalypse of Paul; Erik Peterson; Life of Adam and Eve; Plato; Socrates



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