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Jesus and the Demise of Death
Resurrection, Afterlife, and the Fate of the Christian
What happens after death to Jesus and to those who follow him? Jesus and the Demise of Death offers a constructive theology that seeks to answer that very question, carefully considering both Jesus' descent into hell and eventual resurrection as integral parts of a robust vision of the Christian bodily resurrection. Taking on the claims of N.T. Wright and Richard B. Hays, Matthew Levering draws strongly upon the work of Thomas Aquinas to propose a radical reconstruction of Christian eschatological theology—one that takes seriously the profound ways in which Christianity and its beatific vision have been enriched by Platonic thought and emphasizes the role of the Church community in the passage from life to death. In so doing, Levering underscores the hope in eternal life for Jesus' followers and gives readers firm and fruitful soil upon which to base conversations about the Christian's future.
The Passage of Jesus Christ
1 Christ’s Descent into Hell
2 The Resurrection of Jesus Christ
3 Sitting at the Right Hand of the Father
The Passage of Christ’s People
4 A People in Passage: Faith, Eucharist, Almsgiving
5 Can We Merit Eternal Life?
6 Do We Have Spiritual Souls?
7 Bodily Resurrection and Beatific Vision
“Matthew Levering is to be warmly congratulated on at least two fronts: for addressing a neglected aspect of the New Testament theology and for attempting to build on these biblical foundations to establish a theology of death that will inform contemporary faith and practice.”
—Alan Le Grys, Journal for the Study of the New Testament (35:5, August 2013)
"In an investigation that hides its great learning, Levering argues for a realist understanding of the biblical account of the resurrection of Jesus. Levering has all along being constituting himself a Catholic biblical theologian of rare talent; here, one can't help thinking of Benedict XVI as a model. It is impossible not to be struck by a similarity of style: irenic yet confident, definite but luminously and persuasively modest."
—Cyril O'Regan, Huisking Professor of Theology, University of Notre Dame
"Jesus and the Demise of Death is a powerful exploration of the Christian faith's answers to one of the most fundamental human questions: What happens after I die? Following the guidance of Thomas Aquinas and others, Matthew Levering shows that there is deep wisdom in the church's traditional answers, and that this wisdom is both biblically sound and consistent with scientific discoveries about the human person."
—C. Stephen Evans, University Professor of Philosophy and Humanities, Baylor University
"Levering brings the best of current biblical scholarship into a creative interface with theological reflection informed by one of the Church's greatest minds, Thomas Aquinas. In Jesus and the Demise of Death the core tenets of classical Christian eschatology, recently jettisoned by many theologians as allegedly outdated, make a surprising and come-back. Levering adds an important and timely Catholic contribution to the lively contemporary theological debate about Christian eschatology."
—Reinhard Huetter, Professor of Christian Theology, Duke University Divinity School
"Faced with the finally unavoidable question of death, many in the contemporary Western world have no better answers to share than agnosticism, professed indifference, or despair. In this iconic book, Matthew Levering maps the road to a recovery of the hope that the historic Christian faith was able to offer and maintain through the story of Jesus and the personally engaged God present therein. The passage of Christ through life, death and resurrection has opened the way for countless believers over the centuries, and the divine invitation to a shared and enjoyed eternity still beckons."
—Geoffrey Wainwright, Cushman Professor of Christian Theology, Duke Divinity School
Matthew Levering is Perry Family Foundation Chair of Theology at Mundelein Seminary. His most recent publications include Jewish-Christian Dialogue and the Life of Wisdom, Christ and the Catholic Priesthood, Participatory Biblical Exegesis, and Biblical Natural Law. He lives in Mundelein, Illinois.