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Paying and praying: economics determined theology in the early Christian church

In a review of Peter Brown’s The Ransom of the Soul A.N. Wilson finds that the afterlife of the early Christians was largely influenced by money

11 April 2015

9:00 AM

11 April 2015

9:00 AM

The Ransom of the Soul: Afterlife and Wealth in Early Western Christianity Peter Brown

Harvard University Press, pp.288, £18.95

Peter Brown’s explorations of the mindsets of late antiquity have been educating us for nearly half a century, ever since his great life of St Augustine in 1967. His latest book, relatively short in volume but very wide in scope, explores Christian attitudes to the afterlife, from the time of Cyprian of Carthage (martyred in 258) to that of Julian, Bishop of Toledo in the late seventh century.

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Available from the Spectator Bookshop, £16.95 Tel: 08430 600033. A.N. Wilson is a former Spectator literary editor, and the author of more than 40 books, his most recent being Victoria: A Life and The Potter’s Hand, a novel.

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