Catherine Wolff

Cindy Seip

Writer Catherine Wolff is also the editor of Not Less Than Everything: Catholic Writers on Heroes of Conscience from Joan of Arc to Oscar Romero. Beyond: How Humankind Thinks About Heaven (Riverhead Books) offers a survey of ideas about the afterlife, and a cultural history of heaven. What do we think of when we think about heaven? What might it look like? Who or what might be there? Wolff describes how different faiths and religions have framed heaven, how its sense has evolved, and how nonreligious influences have affected it, from the Enlightenment to the increasingly secular views of heaven today. From Christianity and Islam to Hinduism and beyond – and from the brush of Michelangelo to the pen of Dante – people across millennia have tried to explain and describe heaven. Wolff looks into these accounts to discover what’s common among them and what makes each conception distinct and memorable. Booklist noted that “Wolff’s sprawling book could almost function as a world religions text … [A]n enlightening read for those curious about what may happen after we die, whether they’re people of faith or not.”