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Confessionalization · Enlightenment · Pluralization
Author: Andreas Holzem
Christianity did not reach the modern age by straight paths, but by crooked ones: For two centuries after the Reformation, Catholics and Protestants fought over the truth of their religion. They waged merciless wars and concluded fragile peace treaties. They invested in education and culture. They professionalized clerics and civil servants and tried harder than ever to shape the everyday lives of ordinary people in the villages and towns. They persecuted witches and learned to control the fear of magic.
The Enlightenment, the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars created completely new conditions for making Christianity plausible for the modern age.
The book describes the enormous efforts under which Catholic and Protestant men and women faced the upheavals between the Reformation and the Revolution. Many of these efforts were similar. And yet ‘religious knowledge’ developed significantly apart.
The apocryphal Apocalypse of Paul (Visio Pauli) plunges us right into the heart of early-Christian conceptions of heaven and hell. Its vivid eyewitness account of otherworldly punishment and reward was translated into many different languages and inspired numerous later authors, among whom Dante. This book offers a re-edition and English translation of the ancient Coptic version. An exhaustive commentary makes the text accessible and situates it in the time and place where it was written, fourth-century Egypt. As this new study shows, the Coptic version is by far the best available witness of the original Apocalypse of Paul.