Resurrection, Sensation, and Knowledge

Susan Ashbrook Harvey

in Scenting Salvation

Published by University of California Press

Published in print July 2006 | ISBN: 9780520241473
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520931015 | DOI:
Resurrection, Sensation, and Knowledge

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  • Religion in the Ancient World


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Ancient Christianity developed in a world where different religious cultures shared certain assumptions. One was the notion that human experience extended beyond the confines of the physical, mortal body, and the physically finite world. There was another domain, eternal and infinite, where the divine had its natural habitat. At times and under certain conditions, the limited and the limitless realms intersected, and the human person might know divine presence or action through the very channels that otherwise served to conceal it. A fragrant scent, a glimpse of radiance, a sweet taste, an echo of song, a delicate sensation: by such sensed encounters, the peoples of the ancient Mediterranean world expected and experienced interaction with their gods. Christianity then emerged in a wider religious culture that assumed human experience of the divine to be mediated through the body; that utilized the body further to express human–divine relation; and that understood human expectation of life to come in and through bodily sensations.

Keywords: mortal body; sensation; cultures

Chapter.  7961 words. 

Subjects: Religion in the Ancient World

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