Date: Wednesday, Nov. 7
Time: 7:00-8:30 p.m.
Tuition: $15 before Oct. 31, $20 after
Many religious thinkers have imagined what heaven and hell look like through narratives in which exceptional human beings get tours of the divine realm. The most famous literary work to describe one of these tours is Dante’s 14th-century Divine Comedy. But the genre is actually much older than Dante. Join us to examine how three texts from the ancient world thought about the heavenly realms: Enoch (circa 4th or 3rd centuries BCE), the Apocalypse of Peter (2nd century CE), and the Arda Wiraz-namag (completed circa 9th or 10th century CE). Spanning over fourteen hundred years of human history, these three texts represent the genre of tours of heaven and hell from a Jewish, Christian, and Zoroastrian perspective. We will explore what these visions reveal about the kinds of theology, controversies, and conversations taking place in history. Finally, we’ll examine the impact these visions had on modern life.
Sara Ronis, Ph.D., is Assistant Professor of Theology at St. Mary’s University, where she teaches classes on the Hebrew Bible and its reception across religions and throughout history. She holds a Ph.D. in Judaism in Late Antiquity from Yale University. Her research focuses on ways that Jews in Late Antiquity imagined the “Other” – angels and demons, fetuses, and religious outsiders.