By Carlos Eire
What's eternity? Is it something except a only summary inspiration, absolutely unrelated to our lives? an insignificant wish? A frightfully doubtful horizon? Or is it a sure bet, shared by means of priest and scientist alike, and a vital point in all human family? In a really short historical past of Eternity, Carlos ireland, the historian and nationwide booklet Award-winning writer of watching for Snow in Havana, has written a super background of eternity in Western tradition. Tracing the belief from precedent days to the current, ireland examines the increase and fall of 5 diversified conceptions of eternity, exploring how they built and the way they've got assisted in shaping person and collective self-understanding. A booklet approximately lived ideals and their dating to social and political realities, a really short background of Eternity is usually approximately unbelief, and the tangled and sometimes rancorous relation among religion and cause. Its topic is the biggest topic of all, one who has taxed minds nice and small for hundreds of years, and should without end be of human curiosity, intellectually, spiritually, and viscerally.
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Additional info for A Very Brief History of Eternity
The Ouroboros, also spelled Ourorboros, Oroborus, or Uroborus, is one of the most ancient symbols of all, found in many cultures. It depicts a serpent or dragon devouring its own tail and forming a circle. ” It has multiple meanings but is most often interpreted as a symbol of eternity and infinity, especially of a cyclical nature: creation out of destruc tion, life out of death, eternal renewal and destruction. This symbol shares in the symbolic meaning of the circle, with an added organic twist, blending a perfect geometrical shape with a biological entity that represents nature and the physical world.
23 In sum, this book takes it for granted that lived beliefs are that nexus between the abstract and the concrete: they are the manifestation of convictions that in some way or another Big Bang, Big Sleep, Big Problem v 21 proclaim a higher, transcendent reality beyond the physical universe and the here and now—a reality that promises all the order and purpose that seems to be missing among mor tals in time and space. Allow me to provide but one brief con crete example of what tends to be meant by lived religion: it is the last will and testament of Father Juan de Talavera Sala zar, written in Madrid in 1587, in which the priest named his own eternal soul as heredera universal, or sole heir of his earthly estate.
In ancient times, the line between what we would call religion and philosophy was very blurry. Philosophers founded schools and gathered dis ciples, establishing traditions that were elaborated on and passed down for generations. Some of these philosophical schools might seem very similar to religious cults from our postmodern point of view, since many were wholeheartedly devoted to living out their precepts. The followers of Epicu rus (341–270 bce), for instance, referred to him as soter, or “savior,” convinced as they were that his teachings rescued them from ignorance and deception.