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After LivesA Guide to Heaven, Hell, and Purgatory$
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John Casey

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195092950

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195092950.001.0001

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Heavenly Speculations

Heavenly Speculations

(p.321) 14 Heavenly Speculations
After Lives

John Casey (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

The English speculated in an empirical way about heaven (as they had done about hell) in the seventeenth and eighteenth Centuries. Isaac Watts envisaged what was virtually a Royal Society of intellectual speculation in heaven. Other thinkers discussed at length what avocations and travels would keep the saved occupied throughout eternity. The relation between our original bodies and the risen version was often discussed, with surprising results. Some—the “mortalists”—denied that the body could be immortal. One of the most striking speculative projects—Thomas Burnet's A Sacred Theory of the Earth, which explains what will happen after the General Resurrection—is described. There was also a heaven of sentimental eroticism, and a suggestion that we need not die at all.

Keywords:   empirical speculation, intellectual, mortalists, Thomas Burnet, Isaac Watts, sentimental eroticism

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