Religious Oddities for Halloween 1: The Apocalypse of Peter

Gustave Dore, The Inferno, Canto 21

Having an interest in fringe figures in philosophy, I’ve also encountered plenty of bizarre items in religious thought over the years. I thought it might be fun to post some in the Halloween spirit.

The first is from the Apocalypse of Peter. This is an early text in Christian history (2nd century), and like other apocalyptic works the kinds of things it reveals happen to be pretty out-of-this-world. Here are the horrifying punishments suffered by those in hell, identified by Wikipedia:

  • Blasphemers are hanged by the tongue.
  • Women who “adorn” themselves for the purpose of adultery, are hung by the hair over a bubbling mire. The men that had adulterous relationships with them are hung by their feet, with their heads in the mire, next to them.
  • Murderers and those that give consent to murder are set in a pit of creeping things that torment them.
  • Men who take on the role of women in a sexual way, and lesbians, are “driven” up a great cliff by punishing angels, and are “cast off” to the bottom. Then they are forced up it, over and over again, ceaselessly, to their doom.
  • Women who have abortions are set in a lake formed from the blood and gore from all the other punishments, up to their necks. They are also tormented by the spirits of their unborn children, who shoot a “flash of fire” into their eyes. (Those unborn children are “delivered to a care-taking” angel by whom they are educated, and “made to grow up.”)
  • Those who lend money and demand “usury upon usury” stand up to their knees in a lake of foul matter and blood.

Thankfully, however, the book does assume that all people will be saved from hell by God in the end, a fact which was apparently supposed to be kept secret so that sinners wouldn’t have an excuse to sin even more.

Remember that next time you’re looking to demand usury!

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One Response to Religious Oddities for Halloween 1: The Apocalypse of Peter

  1. Amyclae says:

    That certainly sticks in the mind. Ugh.

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