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The Science of Heaven and Hell

HIS 496

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In premodern Europe, almost everyone believed in the literal existence of an afterlife. This class asks how thinking about Heaven, Hell, and the apocalypse shaped attitudes towards the physical world from late antiquity to the 18th century. We trace how poets and natural philosophers dealt with these realms, and ask how ideas about nature and the body in turn shaped religious views. Topics include the challenge of squaring scientific texts with Scripture; the spiritual implications of medicine, astrology, alchemy, and magic; the physics of angels; demonic possession and mental health; and whether Heaven and Hell existed in physical space.
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Section S01

  • Type: Seminar
  • Section: S01
  • Status: C
  • Enrollment: 16
  • Capacity: 15
  • Class Number: 22782
  • Schedule: T 01:30 PM-04:20 PM