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Comparative Visions of the Afterlife: Heaven, Hell, and Divine Judgment

Aug 22, 2021
Comparative Vision of the Afterlife flyer; image of the presenter

The concept of an afterlife that there is an immortal future, which might either be a lamentable half-existence or a place that includes physical survival, rewards, and punishments, has been central in Western thought. By understanding different conceptions of what happens to us after we die, we explore how the culture engages in continuous conscious reflection upon ethics, identity, the nature of good and evil, repentance, and forgiveness.

In this presentation, we will explore various visions of the afterlife, starting with Ancient Egypt, India, and Greece. From there, we will move onto classical Christianity and will examine Orthodox, Catholic, and Protestant doctrines about life after death. In the final part of the presentation, we will discuss modern religious movements – Mormonism, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and the Bahá’í Faith – in light of their reinterpretation of the notions of the apocalypse and posthumous existence.


Mikhail Yu. Sergeev, PhD

University of the Arts, Philadelphia

Mikhail Sergeev (Ph.D. in religious studies from Temple University, 1997) is a religion, philosophy, and modern art historian. He has served as an editor of the book series Contemporary Russian Philosophy at Brill Publishers in the Netherlands (2016–2019) and as chair of the Department of Religion, Philosophy, and Theology at the Wilmette Institute (2017–21). Sergeev teaches courses in humanities at the University of the Arts, Philadelphia, and the Graduate Theological Union (Berkeley, California). He is also an Affiliate Professor at the United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities in New Brighton, Minnesota. Sergeev has published more than two hundred scholarly, literary, and journalistic articles in the United States, Canada, Great Britain, the Netherlands, Poland, the Czech Republic, Greece, Slovakia, Russia, Japan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, and Azerbaijan. He is the author and contributing editor of fourteen books, including Russian Philosophy in the Twenty-First Century: An Anthology (Brill, 2020).  Web site: See Faculty Bio


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