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The Regulator Bookshop welcomes New York Times bestselling historian Bart D. Erhman for a reading and signing of his new book, Heaven and Hell: A History of the Afterlife.
What happens when we die? A recent Pew Research poll showed that 72% of Americans believe in a literal heaven, 58% in a literal hell. But eternal rewards and punishments are found nowhere in the Old Testament and are not what Jesus or his disciples taught. So where did the ideas come from? Bart D. Erhman takes on two of the most gripping questions of human existence: where did the ideas of heaven and hell come from, and why do they endure?
In clear and compelling terms, Ehrman recounts the long history of the afterlife, ranging from The Epic of Gilgamesh up to the writings of Augustine, focusing especially on the teachings of Jesus and his early followers. One of Ehrman’s startling conclusions is that there never was a single Greek, Jewish, or Christian understanding of the afterlife, but numerous competing views. Moreover, these views did not come from nowhere; they were intimately connected with the social, cultural, and historical worlds out of which they emerged.
Bart D. Ehrman is the author of more than twenty books, including the New York Times bestselling Misquoting Jesus and God's Problem. Ehrman is the James A. Gray Distinguished Professor of Religious Studies at UNC-Chapel Hill and is a leading authority on the Bible and the life of Jesus. Erhman has been featured in Time and has appeared on Dateline NBC, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, CNN, the History Channel, NPR, and other top media outlets. He lives in Durham.