Bibliography for Jewish and Christian Hells


Works by Visionary’s Name, Author’s Name or Title



Related Topics


  • Alexander, Paul J. “Medieval Apocalypses as Historical Sources.” American Historical Review 73 (1968): 997–1018. Discusses the rich historical information that might be found in medieval apocalypses, and although it does not discuss visions particularly, it provides an insight into the material that can be found in these works.
  • Amat, Jacqueline. Songes et visions: L’au-delà dans la littérature latine tardive. Paris: Etudes Augustiniennes, 1985. Examines texts from the second to sixth century in an attempt to concretely retrace the mentality of the time in relation to the afterlife and how this is shown in the literature (dreams and visions) especially in the images used to describe the afterlife. Deals with the literary sources as well as the collective imagination of the time. Jungian–influenced approach.
  • Ancona, Alessandro D’. I precursori di Dante. Florence: G. Sansoni, 1874; rpt. Bologna: Forni, 1989 and Milan: Luni, 2015. Treats the antecedents of Dante in general and gives some particular attention to the Paul, Brendan, Tundale, Patrick and Alberic visions. He does not make firm connections between these and the Divine Comedy, but indicates a general milieu of vision literature, which does not detract from Dante’s originality.
  • Aubrun, Michel. “Caractères et portée religieuse et sociales des ‘Visiones’ en Occident du vie au xie siede.” Cahiers de Civilisation Médiévale 23 (1980):109–30. Discusses the position of the visionary and the redactor with regard to ecclesiastical authority and marginality.
  • Bar, F. Les routes de l’autre monde: Descentes aux enfers et voyages dans l’au delà. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 1946. Various chapters include discussions of the works under consideration here. St. Patrick’s Purgatory is discussed with imrama in a chapter in Celtic literature; in one on medieval literature there is discussion of Gregory the Great, Wetti, Drythelm, Alberic, and Tundale, as well as a discussion of the relationship among voyages to the earthly paradise, romances, and allegories. There are chapters on Dante and post–Dantean texts, and an appendix on paradise. Concludes that there is a great diversity in this literature, and that as religious texts they were designed to edify and instruct through the revelation of those victorious in heaven and those punished in hell.
  • Bauckham, Richard. The Fate of the Dead: Studies on the Jewish and Christian Apocalypses. Leiden: Brill, 1998; Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2008. Includes a chapter on “Early Jewish Visions of Hell” (49–80), which discusses the cosmic tours of Enoch, Elijah, Moses, and Baruch, as well as Abraham’s and Hezekiah’s visions of hell.
  • Becker, Ernest J. A Contribution to the Comparative Study of the Medieval Visions of Heaven and Hell. Baltimore: J. Murphy, 1899. A seminal book in the study of visions of heaven and hell. Part I discusses the various sources for medieval visions in earlier cultures and the development of vision literature. Parts II and Ill concentrate on Anglo–Saxon and Middle English visions, respectively.
  • Benz, Ernst. Die Vision: Erfahrungsformen und Bilderwelt. Stuttgart: Ernst Klett, 1969. Broad study including the relationship of visions to disease and training, the role of the visionary and his or her experience, the tradition of visions and the religious worldview of visionaries.
  • Benz, Ernst. “Vision und Führung in der christlichen Mystik.” Eranos-Jahrbuch 31 (1962): 117–69. A discussion of the function of vision in Christian theology.
  • Boas, George. Essays on Primitivism and Related Ideas in the Middle Ages. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1948, pp. 154–74; rpt as Primitivism and Related Ideas in the Middle Ages, 1997. Study of “primitivism” which examines the idea of the earthly paradise using several examples, in particular the Vision of Tundale, St. Patrick’s Purgatory, and St. Brendan’s Voyage.
  • Boswell, C.S An Irish Precursor of Dante: A Study of the Vision of Heaven and Hell Ascribed to the Eighth Century Irish Saint Adamnán. Grimm Library, 18. London: D. Nutt, 1908; rpt. New York, 1972. This book centers around the Fis Adamnán and provides an English translation. However, the major part of the book discusses in depth the classical, oriental, and ecclesiastical traditions of the otherworid visions; the imrama and fis in Irish literature and their development into later visions. The possibility of direct influence is unfounded, but Boswell claims that it is not unlikely that he was acquainted with several later works like the Vision of Tundale. Briefly includes St. Patrick’s Purgatory, Tundale and Brendan in his discussion.
  • Bremmer, Jan M. “Tours of Hell: Greek, Jewish, Roman and Early Christian” in Topographie des Jenseits: Studien zur Geschichte des Todes in Kaiserzeit und Spätanantike. Ed. Walter Ameling. Stuttgart: Franz Steiner, 2011, pp. 13–34. Examines the Jewish-Christian influence in Greek and Roman otherworld literature through recurring motifs (catalogues of sinners, presence of guide, question-and-answer device and use of demonstrative pronouns) found in the Apocalypse of Peter, the Apocalypse of Elijah, the Apocalypse of Zephaniah, and the Apocalypse of Paul.
  • Carozzi, Claude. “La géographie de l’au–delà et sa signification pendant le haut Moyen–Age.” Popoli e paesi nella cultura altomedievale (Settimana dei Centro Italiano di Studi sull’Alto Medioevo) 29, 2 (1983): 423–81. A study of visions of the otherworld between the sixth and early thirteenth century to determine the nature of geographical space and its relationship to the current symbolism of the otherworld and the idea of purgation and salvation.• Chiffoleau, Jacques. La compatabilité de l’au dela: Les hommes, la morte et la religion dans la région de Avignon (1320–1480). Rome: Ecole Francaise de Rome, 1980. A fascinating study from the documentary evidence of the changing attitudes toward death and the afterlife during this period. Studies “the role of demographics and economics in the change of the imagery of ‘passage’ in the afterlife, the capacity of the church to control this radical change in the popular mentality, and the resulting transformation of the field of religion.”
  • Cavallaro, Daniela. “Go and Sin No More: The Afterlife as Moral Teaching in Italian Catholic Educational Theatre.Religions Vol 10.9 (2019), 517. Examines the use of visions of the blessed and the damned, of heaven and hell, of angels and demons, in educational theatre in Italy by the Jesuits in the sixteenth century and the Salesian sisters in the twentieth century. 
  • Ciccarese, Maria Pia. Includes texts of important sources of otherworld vision literature, including, the Apocalypse, Enoch, Visio Pauli, the heavenly poetry of Prudentius, visions of the martyrs Perpetua and Saturo, the dream of Jerome, the miracle of St. Martin, and the work of Augustine. Includes the texts of Gregory the Great, Gregory of Tours, the Vision of Furseus, the Vision of Barontus, the Vision of Bonellus, Vision of Drytheim, selected letters of Boniface, the Life of St. Guthiac, Vision of a Poor Woman, and Vision of Wetti, all in Latin with facing Italian translation. Includes several indexes, notes, and a brief bibliography.
  • Collins, John J., ed. Apocalypse: The Morphology of a Genre. Semeia: An Experimental Journal for Biblical Criticism 14. Missoula, MT: The Society for Biblical Literature, 1979. A basic and early collection of essays that examines this considerable body of literature from a variery of perspectives according to a specific morphology. Covers Jewish, Christian, Greco-Roman and Persian works from 250 BCE into the Middle Ages, noting that the dating of a number of these texts is quite conjectural. A major distinction within this morphology is whether an otherworld journey or vision is part of the text, and if so whether the text also includes: a) an historical review, eschatological crisis and cosmic and/or political eschatology; b) a cosmic or political eschatology but without an historical review; a personal eschatology without either an historical review or a cosmic transformation. See particularly John J. Collins, “Introduction: Towards a Morphology of a Genre,” 1–19, esp.13–15.
  • ———. “The Otherworld in the Dead Sea Scrolls.” In Otherworlds and Their Relationship to This World. Ed. Tobias Nicklas. Leiden: Brill, 2010, 95–116. Despite the changing understanding of the nature of the afterlife in Judaism at the time of the birth of Christianity, the Dead Sea Scrolls provide surprisingly little information on the subject. Examines them in relationship to Enoch: The Book of the Watchers, The Apocalypse of Weeks, The Animal Apocalypse and The Similitudes.
  • Dana, H. W. L. “Medieval Visions of the Other World.” Diss.: Harvard University, 1910.
  • Delepierre, Joseph Oct. Le livre des visions, ou, L’enfer et le ciel décrits par ceux qui les ont vus. London: p. unk., 1870.
  • De Finibus: Christian Representations of the Afterlife in Medieval Ireland ( An online electronic resource, developed at the University of Cork, with an extensive bibliograhy on Irish eschaological literature, a list of key texts with information on editions, manuscripts and links to online resources.
  • Dinzelbacher, Peter. Von der Welt durch die Hölle zum Paradies. (Paderborn: Schöningh, 2008). A collection of ten revised and updated essays that deal with attitudes toward death and the afterlife, judgment and purgatory, with particular focus on verbal and visual imagery and specific essays on the visions of Saint Paul, Charles IV, and Isabetta di Luigi.
  • Dinzelbacher, Peter. Himmel, Hölle, Heilige: Visionen und Kunst im Mittelalter. (Darmstadt : Primus-Verlag, 2002.)
  • Dinzelbacher, Peter. Die letzten Dinge: Himmel, Hölle, Fegefeuer im Mittelalter. (Freiburg: Herder, 1999).
  • Dinzelbacher, Peter. Mittelalterliche Visionsliteratur: Eine Anthologie. Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 1989.
  • Dinzelbacher, Peter. “La littérature des révélations au moyen age: un document historique. Revue Historique 275 (1986): 289–305.
  • Dinzelbacher, Peter. “The Way to the Other World in Medieval Literature and Art.” Folklore 97 (1986): 70–87. A study of pictorial and allegorical interpretations of the soul’s journey to the otherworld.
  • Dinzelbacher, Peter, and Harald Kleinschmidt. “Seelenbrücke und Brückenbau im mittelalterlichen England.” Numen 31 (1984): 242–87. An analysis of the relationship of the journey of the soul and the image of the bridge as it developed in vision literature in England in the Middle Ages.
  • Dinzelbacher, Peter. Vision und Visionsliteratur im Mittelalters. Monagraphien zur Geschichte des Mittelalters 23. Stuttgart: Hiersemann, 1981. An exhaustive study on vision literature in the Middle Ages. Discusses previous research on and definitions of vision literature, and then examines the nature of visions; the space of the visions; the role of the visionary in relationship to space, motion, emotion, and time, and in relation to those met in the otherworid. Examines the relationship of allegory to vision literature. Concludes with a discussion of the function of the vision, its place in the life of the visionary, and the sociology of the visionary. Includes tables of visions pp. 13–23, 25–29.
  • Dinzelbacher, Peter. “Klassen und Hierarchien im Jenseits.” Miscellanea Mediaevalia 12 (1979): 20–40.
  • Dinzelbacher, Peter.  “Reflexionen irdischer Sozialstrukturen im mitteralterlishen Jenseits schilderungen.” Arc hiv fur Kulturgeschichte 61(1979): 16–34. Looks at heaven and hell in relation to Irish social structures.
  • Dinzelbacher, Peter.  “Die Visionen des Mittelalters:: Ein gescbichtlicher Umriß.” Zeitschrift fur Religions– und Geistesgeschichte 30 (1978): S. 116–28. Examines the form, function, source, and spread, both in time and space, of vision literature, concluding that this type of literature is a special medieval farm that could be more fruitfully examined as literary and religious history.
  • Dinzelbacher, Peter. “Die Jenseitsbrticke im Mittelalter.” Diss.: University of Vienna (104), 1973. A study of the motif of the bridge in literature of the otherworld. Includes, among others, Gregory the Great, Adamnán, Esdrae, Alberic, Tundale, St. Patrick’s Purgatory, Thurkill, St. Paul, William Staunton, and Godeschalk
  • Dod, Marcus. Forerunners of Dante: An Account of Some of the More Important Visions of the Unseen World, from the Earliest Times. Edinburgh: Clark, 1903.
  • Dünninger, Eberhard. “Politische und geschichtliche Elemente in mittelalterlichen Jenseitsvisionen bis zum Ende des 13. Jahrhunderts.” Diss: Wurzburg, 1962. Discusses the place of vision literature within the political context of the church, including both the bishops and the monastic orders. Includes bibliography.
  • Ebel, Uda. “Die Literarischen Formen der Jenseits– und Endzeitvisionen,” in Grundriß der Romanischen Literatur des Mittlealters. Edited by Hans Robert Jauß. vol. 6. Heidelberg: Winter, 1968, 181–215.
  • Erickson, Carolly. The Medieval Vision. Essays in History and Perception. New York: Oxford University Press, 1976. A study of the visionary world view in medieval life, describing how this view informed the sense of the universe. Erickson says that this is a view that we must understand and appreciate in order to recapture medieval perceptions of ideas and events.
  • Foster, Frances A. “Legends of the After–Life.” In A Manual of the Writings in Middle English: 1050–1500. Ed. by J. Burke Severs and Albert E. Hartung. Hamden, CT: Connecticut Academy of Arts and Sciences, 1967– , 2:452–57, 645–49. Description and bibliography on the Middle English Vision of St. Paul, St. Patrick’s Purgatory, Vision of Tundale, Vision of Fursey (Furseus), Vision of Leofric, Revelation of Purgatory by an Unknown Woman, Vision of the Monk of Eynsham.
  • Fritzsche, C. “Die Lateinischen Visionen des Mittelalters bis zur Mitte des 12. Jahrhunderts.” Romanische Forschungen 2 (1886):247–79; 3 (1887):337–69. Presents a chronological discussion of the particular elements of specific visions from the sixth to the thirteenth century with focus on the cultural significance of these visions and on the particular elements. Chart (2:247–49) lists the visions discussed.
  • Fros, H. “Visionum medii aevi Latina repertorium.” The Use and Abuse of Eschatology in the Middle Ages. Ed. by W. Verbeke, D. Verhelst and A. Wekenhysen. Louvain: Louvain University Press, 1988,481–98. List with bibliographic citations.
  • Fyfe, James. The Hereafter: Sheol, Hades and Hell, the World to Come, and the Scripture Doctrine of Retribution According to Law. Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1890.
  • Gardiner, Eileen. A collection of medieval visions of heaven and hell in English translation, including the visions of Charles the Fat, Drythelm, Furseus, the Monk of Eynsham, Paul, Tundale, and Thurkill; and St. Brendan’s Voyage and St. Patrick’s Purgatory. Includes a general introduction, notes, and bibliography.
  • ———. Medieval Visions of Heaven and Hell: A Sourcebook. New York: Garland, 1993. The source for this electronic bibliography.
  • ———. “Sensory Experience in Visions of Heaven and Hell.” International Medieval Congress, University of Leeds, 2 July 2018.
  • ———. “What Every Medievalist Should Know About Hell.” University of Bristol, Centre for Medieval Studies, 17 October 2019.
  • Gardner, Tom C. “The Theater of Hell. A Critical Study of Some Twelfth–Century Latin Eschatological Visions.” Ph.D. Diss.: University of California, Berkeley, 1976.
  • Gurevich, A. J. “The Divine Comedy before Dante.” In Medieval Popular Culture: Problems of Belief and Perception. Trans. by János M. Bak and Paula A. Holhngsworth. Cambridge Studies in Oral and Literate Culture 14. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 11988. 104–52. Extensive chapter on vision literature and the immediacy of it sense of space and time when compared with theological writings. The concept of personal vs. general judgment and the rise of purgatory are both considered.
  • Henning, Meghan. Educating Early Christians through the Rhetoric of Hell: “Weeping and Gnashing of Teeth” as Paideia in Matthew and the Early Church. Tubingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2014. Traces references to and tours of hell through the Hebrew Bible, Greek and Roman literature, Jewish Apocryphal literature, and the New Testament noting how rhetorical devices such as ekphrasis and periegesis transform readers into spectators and tourists and eventually move them toward repentance and ethical behavior in line with early Christian principles. Contains useful charts of “hell” word occurrences in the examined texts.
  • Himmelfarb, Martha. Tours of Hell: An Apocalyptic Form in Jewish and Christian Literature. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1983. Covers tours of hell from late antiquity to the fifth century, their background, and the traditions to which they gave rise. Uses parallels of sin/punishment pairs as crucial identifiers for clarifying the nature of the relationships among various texts. Covers, in addition to the Jewish texts, the following works, which are of interest in the context of the present volume: Apocalypse of Peter, Apocalypse of Paul, Apocalypse of Mary, and Vision of Ezra. Contains bibliography of editions and translations of texts, bibliographies, and significant secondary literature.
  • James, M. R. “Irish Apocrypha.” Journal of Theological Studies 20 (1918): 9–16. Discusses two Irish texts, Evernew Tongue and the Vision of Adamnán, pointing out similarities in their descriptions of the otherworld to apocalyptic literature, indicating some unknown work(s) of this genre as source for these Irish descriptions of otherworld.
  • Jodogne, Omer. “L’aurte monde celtique dans la littérature francaise du xiie siècle.” Bulletin de la classe des Lettres et des Sciences morales et politiques of the Royal Academy of Brussels, ser. 5, 46 (1960):584–97. Analyzes the influence of Celtic concepts of the otherworld on French literature in an atmosphere receptive to ancient, Byzantine, Germanic, and Celtic concepts of the otherworld.
  • Johnston, Philip. Shades of Sheol: Death and Afterlife in the Old Testament. Leicester, Angleterre: Apollos, 2002. A comprehensive study covering Death, the Underworld, the Dead and the Afterlife. See review in Journal of Hebrew Scriptures.
  • Kamphausen, Hans Joachim. Traum und Vision in der Lateinischen Poesie der Karolingerzeit. Bern and Frankfurt/M: Herbert Lang and Peter Lang, 1975. Discusses the difference between dreams and visions in medieval literature and particularly Carolingian poetry with an emphasis on the development of the eschatological ideas of heaven, hell, and purgatory from the ancient to the Carolingian period. Shoaf describes this book as “a recent summary on the theological significance of this genre for communities which used and enjoyed it.” Includes bibliography.
  • Kroll, Josef. Gott und Hölle: der Mythos vom Descensuskampfe. Kulturwissenschaftliche Bibliothek Warburg. Studien 20. Leipzig and Berlin: Tuebner, 1932. A comparative study on descent into hell literature in the European Middle Ages (126–82) and in, among others, Egyptian, Babylonian Iranian, Indian, and Jewish cultures.
  • Le Goff, Jacques. “The Learned and Popular Dimensions of Journeys of the Otherworld in the Middle Ages.” Translated by Victor Aboulaffia. In Understanding Popular Culture. Ed. by Steven L. Kaplan. New York: Mouton, 1984. Originally published in Le Goff’s L’imaginaire medievale. Paris: Gallimard, 1985. A discussion of the simultaneous influence of “popular” culture with its tendency “to spatialize spiritual life and to localize beliefs” and learned culture with its tendency to rationalize the beyond and domesticate narrative ramblings, in shaping the otherworld visions of the Middle Ages. Hypothesizes a four–part division: “before the seventh century, the Church’s determination to destroy or occlude folkloric culture ....”; “the seventh to the tenth centuries are the great era of visions of the beyond”. ..linked to growth of monasticism; ‘during the eleventh and twelfth centuries... folklore spreads the visions widely”...linked to improved status of laity; “after twelfth century – learned culture’s counter–attack... rationalizes the beyond and infernalizes the subterranean underworld.”
  • Levison, Wilhelm. “Die Politik in Jenseitsvisionen des frühen Mittelalters.” Aus Rheinischer undfrankischer Frühzeit. Dusseldorf: L. Schwann, 1948, 229–46. Study of political aspects of early medieval vision literature with particular attention to the visions of Charles the Fat and Bernoldus.
  • MacCullough, J.A. Early Christian Visions of the Other-World. Edinburgh: St. Giles’ Printing Co., 1912. Christian Visions of the Other-World. Edinburgh: St. Giles’ Printing Co., 1912.Monnier, J. Le Descente aux Enfers. Etude de pensé religieuse d’art et de litterature. Paris: Fischbacher, 1905. Hell and Its Afterlife
  • Marshall, Peter. “The Reformation of Hell. Protestant and Catholic Infernalisms in England, c. 1560–1640.” Journal of Ecclesiastical History 61.2 (April 2010): 279–98.
  • Moreira, Isabel. Heaven's Purge: Purgatory in Late Antiquity. New York: Oxford University Press, 2010.
  • —, ed. Hell and Its Afterlife. Farnham, Surrey, UK: Ashgate, 2010.
  • Morgan, Alison. Dante and the Medieval Otherworld. Cambridge Studies in Medieval Literature 8. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990. An excellent study of the relationship between the Divine Comedy and popular Christian belief regarding the otherworld based on the study of other visions of heaven and hell. Provides an appendix (pp. 211–33) listing medieval otherworld visions with background and bibliographic information.
  • Nutt, Alfred. “The Irish Vision of the Happy Otherworld and the Celtic Doctrine of Rebirth.” In The Voyage of Bran Son of Febal to the Land of the Living. Ed and trans. by Meyer, Kuno. 2 vols. Grimm Library 4. London: D. Nutt, 1895, 1897, 1:101–331. A comparative study of the otherworld in Celtic legend, with particular attention to the imrarna (particularly the Voyage of Bran), the Fís Adamnán, and the Vision of Paul, with reference to biblical, Jewish, ancient, Scandinavian, Iranian, and Indian otherworlds.
  • Os, Arnold Barel van. Religious Visions and the Development of Eschatological Elements in Medieval English Religious Literature. Amsterdam: H. J. Paris, 1932. Study of the sources for English vision literature, which lie in the universal fund of eschatological elements and probably reached England through the Book of Enoch, the Apocalypse of Enoch, the Apocalypse of Peter, and the Vision of Paul. Examines the influence of Islamic literature on later visions. Also studies the influence of English homilies, works of religious instruction and exempla. Includes reprints of the Apocalypse of Peter (262–64), Vision of Paul (264–66), and the Vision of Adamnán (266–74). Includes bibliography.
  • Owen, Douglas R. R. The Vision of Hell: Infernal Journeys in Medieval French Literature. New York: Barnes & Noble, 1971. Discussion of French medieval accounts of hell and how in their treatments the authors disclose the general medieval idea of the Christian otherworld. Includes a diplomatic edition of the French text of the Vision of Paul from Dublin, Trinity College 951 Cl. I.5.19.
  • Ozanam, Antoine Fredéric. “Les Sources poétiques de la Divine Comddie.” In Les poètes franciscains en Italie au xiie siecle. Oeuvres complètes 5. Paris: Lecoffre, 1872, 397–538. Traces mostly ancient influence on Dante with some attention to medieval vision literature.
  • Ozanam, Antoine Fredéric. Dante e la philisophie catholique au XIII siede. Second ed. Paris: J. Lecoffre, 1845. Discusses sources for the D. C., concentrating on thirteenth–century poetry and ancient descents into hell-poetry. Includes a discussion on the originality of  Dante.
  • Pasquini, Laura. Diavoli e inferni nel Medioevo: Origine e sviluppo delle immagini dal VI al XV secolo. Padova: Il poligrafo, 2015. Examines the development of the iconography for both the devil and hell, primarily in Italy. Includes color illustrations.
  • Patch, Howard Rollin. The Other World According to Descriptions in Medieval Literature. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1950; reprint ed., New York: Octagon, 1970. Discusses Oriental, Classical, Celtic, and Germanic prototypes for elements of the otherworld, especially paradise. Examines these elements in medieval vision literature, particularly the ascent, the river barrier or fiery river, the bridge, mountains as a barrier or general feature, the dark valley, and the wall as barrier. Also examines these motifs in medieval journey literature, allegories, and romances.
  • Rockelein, Hedwig. Otloh, Gottschalk, Tnugdal: Individuelle und kollektive Visionsmuster desHochmìttelalters. Europaische Hochschulschriften 3.319. FrankfurtiM and New York: Peter Lang, 1987. Combines psychological and ethnological approach in a study of Otloh of Emmeran with particular reference to the “collective” visions of Gottschalk, Thurkill, Tundale, and Owein (St. Patrick’s Purgatory).
  • Rüegg, August. Die Jenseitsvorstellungen vor Dante und die übrigen literarischen Voraussetzungen der “Divine Commedia.” Ein quellenkritischer Kommentar. 2 vols. Einsiedeln/Cologne: Benziger, 1945. A comparative study of visions of the otherworld including ancient and biblical, with medieval visions focusing in volume I on Furseus (pp. 292–95), Laisren (295–97), Drythelm (297–308), Barontus (308–311), Wetti (311–13), the imrama, Brendan (327–31), Adamnán (332–51), Tundale (352–94), St. Patrick’s Purgatory (Owein) (395–405), Alberic (406–34), Volume 2 concentrates on the influences of this literature on the Divine Comedy.
  • Segal, Alan F. Life after Death: A Hsitory of the Afterlife in Western Religion. New York: Doubleday, 1989. Examining the texts of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, Segal seeks to define the different religious beliefs and the way they developed.
  • Seymour, St. John Drelíncourt. “The Bringing Forth of the Soul in Irish Literature.” Journal of Theological Studies 22(1920):16–20. Discusses a tradition in the literature of dying where the soul is unwilling or unable to leave the body through certain members (mouth, nose, etc.) either because they are sanctified (in the case of the righteous person) or are guarded by devils (in the case of sinners). Mentions two visions of the otherworld in this context, Vision of St. Paul and the Vision of Ezra.
  • Seymour, St. John Drelíncourt. Irish Visions of the Otherworld: A Contribution to the Study of Medieval Visions. New York: Macmillan, 1930. A study of the visions found in Irish ecclesiastical literature, the most striking feature of them being the change in their eschatology, which took place about the tenth century, which divides them into two classes. Discusses the visions of Furseus, Laìsrén, Adamnán, Drythelm, the Monk of Wenlock, and Tundale, and the Voyage of Brendan, the vision of hell in the Liber Flavus Fergusiorum and the vision of heaven and hell in the Voyage of the Hai Corra, among others. Concludes that “in the earlier period the Celtic church in Ireland drew no distinction between hell and purgatory” until as a result of new ideas which culminated in the twelfth century Reformation, the doctrine of a purgatorial state distinct from hell emerged. Stated in the Vision of Adamnán, elaborated in the Vision of Tundale, and perfected in the vision of Owein.
  • Seymour, St. John Drelíncourt. “The Eschatology of the Early Irish Church.” Zeitschrift fur Celtische Philologie 14 (1923): 179–211. An account of the views held by the early Irish church on the otherworld and particularly on the development of the purgatorial doctrine. Discusses both imrama and visions (Furseus, Laisrén Adamnán, and Tundale; plus non–Irish Drythelm and the Monk of Wenlock). Covers heaven, hell, division of souls, fire of doom, and purgatory. He argues that before the ninth century the Irish church conceived of hell as a place from which souls could be released through the intervention of a saint or the pious deeds of the living. From the tenth century purgatory becomes separate from hell and the later Irish visions describe a separate purgatorial state — reflecting a view more in line with orthodoxy and probably related to the revolution in ecclesiastical matters taking place in Ireland before the close of the twelfth century.
  • Silverstein, Theodore. “Dante and the Legend of the Mi’raj: The Problem of Islamic Influence on the Christian Literature of the Otherworld.” Journal of Near Eastern Studies 11(1952):89–110, 187–97. Calls for a reexamination of the influence of Islamic literature on Christian literature of the otherworld.
  • Thompson, Stith. “Otherworld Journeys.” in Motif Index of Folk Literature. Ed. by Stith Thompson. Rev, ed. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1955– 58, 3:7–37. Motif index.
  • Villari, Pasquale. Antiche leggende e traduzione che illustrano la Divina Commedia precedute da alcune osservazioni. Pisa: Nistri, 1865. Also in AnnaIi delle Università Toscane 8 (1866): 1–462; rpt. 1979. Introduction on Dante and his predecessors. Presents editions of Tundale (Latin and Italian), St. Patrick’s Purgatory (Italian), St. Paul (Italian), and St. Brendan’s Voyage (Italian).
  • Wilison, Elizabeth. “The Middle English Legends of Visits to the Other World and their Relation to the Metrical Romances.” Ph.D. Diss.: University of Chicago, 1917. Study of the crossover between romance and legend in phraseology and meter. Primarily attempts o show that the material was common to both forms and only secondarily was there influence of romances on writers of legends. Traces early influences on visions. Discusses St. Paul, Tundale, Monk of Eynsham, St. Patrick’s Purgatory, and the Voyage of St. Brendan, plus the “Falmouth Squire,” and two other works.
  • Zaleski, Carol. Otherworld Journeys: Accounts of Near-Death Experience in Medieval and Modern Times. New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1987. An excellent book that examines the medieval visions of heaven and hell and links them to contemporary accounts of near–death experiences to provide an understanding of these visions as religious and imaginative experiences. Good bibliography.

AB Analecta Bollandiana. Brussels: Société des Bollandistes, 1882– .
AS Acta Sanctorum, editio novissima. J, Carnadet et. al., ed. Paris: Palmé, 1863– .
BHL Bibliotheca hagiographica latinae antiquae et mediae aetatis. Brussels: Socii Bollandiani, 1898– .
Ciccarese Ciccarese, Maria Pia. Visioni dell’Aldilà in Occidente. Florence: Nardini Editore, 1987.
Gardiner Gardiner, Eileen. Visions of Heaven and Hell before Dante. New York: Italica Press, 1989.
MGH Monumenta Germaniae Historica. Scriptores rerum Germanicarum und Scriptores… nova ser. Hannover: Gesellschaft für ältere deutsche Geschichtskunde, 1826– .
MGH PLAC Monumenta Germaniae historica. Poetae latini aevi Carolini. Hannover: Gesellschaft für ältere deutsche Geschichtskunde, 1880–1951.
MGH SRM Monumenta Germaniae historica. Scriptores rerum Merovingicarum. Hannover: Gesellschaft für ältere deutsche Geschichtskunde, 1884–1920 .
PL Patrologiae cursus completus. Series Latina. J.-P. Migne, ed. Paris: Migne, 1844–65.
Vincent of Beauvais • Vincent of Beauvais. Bibliotheca mundi seu Speculi maioris. Vol. 4, Speculum historiale. Douay: B. Belleri, 1624; rpt. ed. Graz: Akademische Druck–u. Verlagsanstalt, 1965.

Related Topics
About Judeo-Christian Hell
Judeo-Christian Texts
Judeo Christian Images

Comments or Questions?
rev. 08/30/2021