Hell, and the history thereof

As I cook an enormous lasagne to feed a 5 year old and 4 year old tonight (and their parents), I’m catching up on my “In our Time” podcasts. At the moment it’s “The history of hell,” which is interesting for a whole load of reasons. But something that just struck me: Bosch and Luther were contemporaries! Fascinating.

Now they’re talking about the fact that in many early traditions, hell was freezing, rather than being, with the speculation that this is some sort of folk memory of the change, 10,000 years ago, from the last Ice Age. Apparently – and I don’t know who thinks this – there is an idea that the Ice Age changed over just 10 years or so, such that people would experience it very obviously.

And now they’re talking about Heart of Darkness The Waste Land. The idea of the journey down the Congo, to the supervisor at the inner station, who might be described as a modern Tiresias. Now that is a really, really interesting idea.

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