Book Reviews / Aries 8 (2008) 91-112 101 John B. Buescher, Th e Other Side of Salvation: Spiritualism and the Nineteenth-Century Religious Experience , Boston: Skinner House Books 2004. 281 pp. ISBN 1-55896-448-7 American Spiritualism dispensed entirely with the idea of hell and opened the seven-tiered heavens to all. In many real ways, Spiritualism paved the way for contemporary religious pluralism and delivered a signiﬁcant blow not only to ideas of Calvinist election but to even moderate claims about the exclusivity of Christian salvation. John B. Buescher documents in rich detail the interactions between Spiritualism and one of its main interlocutors in the nineteenth century, the Universalist Church (and to a lesser extent the Unitarians) who held similar soteriological beliefs: heaven was thrown wide for all races and creeds, and the condemnation of sinners was replaced by the progressive notion of actively helping the less fortunate. Heaven was not a static state of perfection but rather an endless process of educa- tion as the dead grew in wisdom and knowledge in a place where no evil was beyond the pale of progress. Buescher has produced a well-written and utterly accessible book that recasts many familiar stories in a
Aries – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 2007
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