Once upon a time, all of Christianity was united and believed everything the exact same way. Not really.
During the first millennium, Christianity become divided among the East and the West, generally along the lines of the Godhead and finally, after the primacy of the pope, the Great Schism happened. A lot of stuff there, actually, one which I wouldn’t dare to reignite.
This is the result of a conversation with Jeremy, so blame him.
But, in looking at the development of hell, I note that West has a fully fleshed out doctrine of eternal. The West is the Roman Catholic Church and all of the Protestants which inherited the doctrine. The West also has a doctrine on purgatory. The East, the various Orthodoxies, has a hell which is more akin to the West’s purgatory, in which there is remedial punishment which is limited.
The Jewish belief, generally, follows this line of thinking. (Yes, I am away of nuances, but I am going about the issue as an overarching premise.)
Is there a connection?
Let me try to put down on my paper (or a blog post) what is meandering through the skull.
- The West was Latin, the East was Greek.
- The West was centered in Rome, a metropolitan city which inherited the Roman and Greek philosophers. The East was not centered in one city, but spread out over Asia, Africa, and the Middle East.
- The West was ecclesiastically centered. The East was not. Each nation had its only ‘state church’.
- The West diverted from the Semitic roots of Christianity. The East was forced to hold ties with the Semitic roots of Christianity
- Because of the geographical locations, and the changing of languages and understanding of base languages, some things were taken literal, others not. Where as the West lost the Semitic root the East was able to maintain some of it.
So, does this help to explain why the doctrine of hell developed differently in the West and the East?….because the East actually was able to retain a very slim connection to Judaism?