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Tiered Salvation in the New Testament and Ancient Christianity: New book published by Comparative Religion alumnus

March 19, 2021

Dr. Alex Kocar, UW Comparative Religion alumnus (2009) and current lecturer at Princeton University, has recently published a new book, Heavenly Stories Tiered Salvation in the New Testament and Ancient Christianity, with University of Pennsylvania Press.

Salvation is often thought to be an all-or-nothing matter: you are either saved or damned. Paul the Apostle, John of Patmos, Hermas, the Sethians, and the Valentinians did not think this way. For them, there were multiple levels of salvation. By examining the reasons and implications for why these important thinkers believed that salvation comes in degrees, this book offers a fresh perspective on ancient thinking about responsibility, especially as it intersects with concerns such as genealogy and determinism. It shows why Jews and Christians of various kinds – some eventually declared orthodox, others heretical – correlated ethics and soteriology, and argued over how this should be done.

Heavenly Stories is part of University of Pennsylvania’s series, Divinations: Rereading Late Ancient Religion.

Alexander Kocar has taught at Princeton, Rutgers, and New York Universities and is currently on the faculty of the Peddie School. He is editor, with Mika Ahuvia, of Placing Ancient Texts: The Ritual and Rhetorical Use of Space.

Comparative Religion Staff