Chapter 15: Soteriology
Soteriology is a branch of religious studies that examines different religions and systems of beliefs about salvation and the liberation from the limitations of earthly life, often connected with death, often understood as a boundary or an ultimate test. Soteriological archetypes include the ideas connected with death and immortality, afterlife and the continuity of identity. Death regarded as a soteriological archetype is the moment of passing from one stage to another. It can be an ultimate test or the last gateway behind which the individual is rewarded or punished for their earthly life; it can also mark a change of course, the beginning of a new cycle, such as the moment of passing from one incarnation to another. A frequent motif is the journey into the underground domain of the dead that the soul undertakes after the death of the body. Apart from the souls of the dead, this kingdom is often inhabited by deities and other supernatural creatures. In some beliefs, the souls can be rewarded or punished after death, depending on whether the deceased person led a sinful or a virtuous life. The souls either go to the kingdom of eternal bliss (paradise, heaven) or are condemned (hell). In other mythologies, such as the Greek, there is only one common spiritual space for all the dead. Death is not always a threshold but it is always an archetype of transformation. It can mean the end for the individual.
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