The Reckoning of the Soul
Ewa Wipszycka’s Late Antique Seminar
On 13 May at 4.45 pm (Warsaw time) Emmanouela Grypeou (Stockholms Universitet) will present a paper The Reckoning of the Soul: The development of the motif of the Demonic Tollhouses in late antique Eastern Christianity.
Late antique Christianity developed a rich imagery and lore about the fate of the souls after death. In my presentation I will discuss traditions that elaborate on the intermediate fate of the dead and on questions regarding a preliminary judgement, which would allocate the souls to their respective place in afterlife before the Last Judgement. More specifically, I will focus on texts that describe in some detail the idea of the demonic so-called “tollhouses” and the aerial “tax collectors”. As I would like to suggest, the development of the idea of preliminary judgment of the soul as conducted by demonic forces is related to contemporary and parallel developments in late antique Christian perceptions of hell and its punishments.