The Cosmography of Paradise

Author(s): 
Edited by Alessandro Scafi
Publication date: 
6 June 2016
Number of pages: 
295
Dimensions: 
241 × 171 × 20
ISBN: 
978-1-908590-50-3
Institute: 
Paperback
£55.00
Description: 
The Cosmography of Paradise: The Other World from Ancient Mesopotamia to Medieval Europe considers the general theme of paradise from various comparative perspectives. The focus has been on the way the relationship between ‘the other world’ and the structure of the whole cosmos has been viewed in different ages and traditions around the Mediterranean basin, spanning from the ancient Near East to medieval Europe. Scholars coming from different fields discuss in this volume the various ways the relationship between paradise and the general features of the universe has been viewed within their own field of work. The historical formation of the notion of paradise, defined as a perfect state beyond time and space, relied heavily upon a variety of temporally and culturally conditioned concepts of the physical cosmos as a finite and imperfect realm. It is precisely the emphasis on cosmography that allows the discussion of several traditions: Sumerian, ancient Iranian, Greek, Jewish, early Christian, Gnostic, Byzantine, Islamic, Scandinavian, and Latin Western.
Table of contents: 

Introduction (pp. 1–7)

    Alessandro Scafi



The Birth of Paradise: To Early Christianity,
via Greece, Persia and Israel (pp. 9–30)

    Jan N. Bremmer



Sumerian Paradise Lost (pp. 31–37)

    Markham J. Geller



Around, Inside and Beyond the Walls: Names,
Ideas and Images of Paradise in Pre-Islamic Iran (pp. 39–66)

    Antonio C. D. Panaino



Enoch, Eden, and the Beginnings of Jewish
Cosmography (pp. 67–94)

    Annette Yoshiko Reed



Gnostic Paradises (pp. 95–107)

    Einar Thomassen



Diabolizing the Garden of Eden: Re-Interpretations
of Jewish Pseudepigraphy in Medieval Christian Dualism (pp. 109–125)

    Yuri Stoyanov



Seeking Paradise in the Egyptian Desert (pp.
127–135)

    Dimitris J. Kyrtatas



Gazing at the Holy Mountain: Images of Paradise
in Syriac Christian Tradition (pp. 137–162)

    Sergey Minov



Food and the Senses, and One Very Special Taste
of Paradise (pp. 163–181)

    Danuta Shanzer



‘The Heavens Declare
the Glory of God’: Mapping Cosmos and Activating Heaven through Holy Icons (pp. 183–200)

    Veronica Della Dora



Paradise in Western
Medieval Tradition (pp.
201–210)

    Rudolf Simek



Paradise in the
Islamic Religious Imagination (pp. 211–226)

    Christian Lange



In Medieval Islamic
Cosmography, where is Paradise? (pp. 227–243)

    Emilie Savage-Smith



Valhalla and Heaven: Scandinavian
Images of Paradise in a Period of Religious Change (pp. 245–266)

    Anders Hultgård



Colour plates (pp. 269–284)



Index
of Names (pp. 285–295)