I’ve had a working hypothesis for quite a while now that stories about the devil tell us about as much about an author’s priorities as anything else.  Milton’s devils and especially his version of Satan lead a reader into some profound worries about the powers of rhetoric and reason.  Goethe’s Mephistopheles can’t seem to keep up with the ambition of Heinrich Faust, and his attempts at temptation are farcical compared to the grandeur of the great man’s desires. And certainly nobody who’s read C.S. Lewis’s Screwtape Letters can mistake the features of 20th-century life that stand as the Oxford Don’s pet peeves.  Bart Ehrman, in his new book Journeys to Heaven and Hell, examines another kind of story, a set of narratives in which the living have a look at what awaits the dead, and discovers a similar dynamic: what’s magnified on the other side tells some fascinating stories about the struggles of this side.  And I’m glad that he’s joining us on Christian Humanist Profiles today to talk about some of those stories.

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