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

Aug 22, 2021

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.

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Mikhail Yu. Sergeev, PhD

WI Department Coordinator (Religion, Theology, and Philosophy)

Mikhail Sergeev (b. 1960) – Ph.D. in philosophy of religion (1997, Temple University, Philadelphia, USA); historian of religion, philosopher, writer. Sergeev teaches history of religions, philosophy, and contemporary art at the University of Arts in Philadelphia. He served as co-chair of the department of religion, philosophy, and theology at Wilmette Institute (2017–21). The author of more than two hundred scholarly, journalistic, and creative works, Sergeev published them in the United States, Canada, Japan, Poland, Greece, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, Uzbekistan, and Russia. Some of his articles were translated into Polish and Japanese, and his books were reviewed in Germany, Japan, Poland, Russia, Slovakia, and the United States. He has authored and edited twelve books, including the monograph, Theory of Religious Cycles: Tradition, Modernity, and the Bahá’í Faith, (Brill, 2015) and his latest, Russian Philosophy in the Twenty-First Century: An Anthology (Brill, 2020).See Faculty Bio

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