By Jean-Claude Larchet
Translated by G. John Champoux
Paperback: 290 pages
This book offers an accessible and well organized synthesis of the ancient Christian understanding of death and the afterlife. French philosopher and patrologist Jean-Claude Larchet draws both from Scriptures and a multiplicity of early Christian writings, both Greek and Latin, in demolishing false conceptions such as reincarnation, whilst setting forth with clarity an authentically Christian understanding.
The reader will gain understanding of both the time and modalities of the bodily resurrection, the nature of the Particular and the Universal judgments, and of the Church's intercessory prayer for the departed. He notes that some divergences between eastern and western traditions have existed since the fifth century and argues that these became of much greater importance after the twelfth century, when the Roman Catholic Church developed the notion of Purgatory.
This work will be of benefit both to the Orthodox Christian reader in enhancing their own understanding of the Church's teaching, and to Roman Catholics, Protestants, and others who desire to become acquainted with the fullness of the Christian tradition on death and the afterlife. All will encounter the abundant heritage of “the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3).
Death: Origin and Spiritual Meaning
The Moment of Death
From the First to the Third Day Following Death: The Separation of the Soul from the Body
From the Third to the Ninth Day: The Passage through the Aerial Toll-houses
From the Ninth to the Fortieth Day: The Introduction into the Other World
The Fortieth Day: The Particular Judgment
From the Fortieth Day to the Last Judgment: The Intermediate State
The Relations between the Living and the Dead
The Resurrection and the Last Judgment
Eternal Life: The Kingdom of Heaven and Hell
Preparing Oneself for Death and the Life Beyond