A Critical Biography
This chapter discusses the interrelationships of body and soul from a Christian theological viewpoint. It takes up the foundational Christian mythology of death and resurrection, the formation of the cult of the martyrs in the early church, and patristic debates about death and return from the dead. The focus here is upon the coexistence of multiple strands of interpretation and what this diversity signified within an institution that commonly policed its doctrines with great zeal. It presents the formative traditions that later generations, in the high and late medieval periods, looked to for guidance. The presuppositions about death and afterlife that were established in the early centuries of the church continued to be important touchstones throughout the Middle Ages.
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