The Soul Sleepers: Christian Mortalism from Wycliffe to Priestley
A new and thoroughly researched study of the rise and development of Christian Mortalism, also known as Conditional Immortality or Soul Sleep, in England during the Reformation and Post-Reformation periods.
Dr Bryan Ball traces the origins of the belief in Continental Reformation thought, and then in the writings of Wycliffe and Tyndale, and its growth and development in the writings of many other advocates, including Hobbes, Overton, Milton, Locke, Edmund Law, John Biddle, Peter Peckard, Francis Blackburne, among many others, concluding with the views of Joseph Priestley.
In the context of being a historical study, this book challenges the traditional doctrine of the soul’s innate immortality. Having previously written on English eschatological thought, Dr Ball sets out to demonstrate here that this alternative view of man’s essential nature and ultimate destiny was held across a wide theological spectrum in English thought for at least three centuries.
While dealing with a subject that is at times difficult, the book has been intentionally written in a readable, accessible style, and will appeal to a much wider audience than the purely academic. The book provides important background information for the growing interest in the mortalist point of view in contemporary theological and historical circles.
Ball, B. W. (2008). The soul sleepers: Christian mortalism from Wycliffe to Priestley. Cambridge, England: James Clarke.