"Ernest Becker's classic work The Denial of Death (1974) asserts that our innate tendency is not just to avoid death but to deny it. Well, there is one theologian, Gerhard Lohfink, who confronts death head on and offers a perspective, historical and theological, that enables the reader to face a basic reality of human existence. Even Ernest Becker would be impressed with this book.
"It's dangerous to plunge into mystery, be that mystery one of life or death. Fr. Lohfink has no fear here and, with erudition and clarity of style, provides us with new and hopeful vistas on this great mystery. We are indebted to him for a challenging and engaging work. I think Lohfink would agree with Emerson: `Nothing divine dies.'
"Shakespeare raised a big question: `To be or not to be.' This comes out of the world of drama. Fr. Lohfink provides a perspective for Hamlet and ourselves on that `not to be,' the reality of death. We have here an engaging and hopeful work."
Robert F. Morneau, Auxiliary Bishop Emeritus of Green Bay
"Gerhard Lohfink's Is This All There Is? is an extraordinarily clear, well-argued, and thoroughly engaging book. Beginning with a discussion of basic human questions about the meaning of life and death, Lohfink explores Christian beliefs in dialogue with other religious and nonreligious perspectives. Undergraduates will find this book accessible and thought-provoking, while the nuance of Lohfink's analysis will challenge theological experts to reconsider their views. I know of no better overview of Christian eschatology and would encourage its use at all levels."
Mary Doak, Associate Professor of Theology and Religious Studies, University of San Diego
"If you are planning to read this book, prepare for an exhilarating and surprising ride. Lohfink leads us through all the imaginable possibilities of what happens to us when we die and then moves to a most profound description of what our faith teaches us. This is a book that must be read at least twice. Also take time to enjoy Linda Maloney's excellent translation."
Irene Nowell, OSB, author of Wisdom: The Good Life
"Gerhard Lohfink's Is This All There Is? is a stunningly original, profound, and spiritually uplifting and challenging book. Three things stand out in it. First, we cannot validly use our notions of space and time when we talk about life after death. There is a purification process but seeing purgatory as a space like ours and reckoning time in the process as we do on earth is profoundly mistaken. Second, eternal life and resurrection is a pure gift from God. We share in the resurrection of Jesus, the firstborn from the dead. Finally, we need to juxtapose God's justice and his mercy. Excellent chapters deal with our caring for the dying and preparing for our own deaths. It is also a very well-written book."
John A. Coleman, Casassa Professor Emeritus at Loyola Marymount University, Associate Pastor at Saint Ignatius Parish, San Francisco
"This is exactly what one expects from Lohfink, the distinguished biblical scholar and respected theologian: a book that is hugely informed, consistently provocative, conscientiously pastoral, and—in the best sense of the word—imaginative."
Dale C. Allison Jr., Princeton Theological Seminary, author of Night Comes: Death, Imagination, and the Last Things
"Thoughtful, entertaining . . . Asking big religious questions Lohfink takes aim at classic discussions of faith from a Christian perspective rooted in wonder and trust. This intelligent, gracious book is a welcome contribution to theological conversations about life, death, and resurrection."
Publishers Weekly Starred Review
"Lohfink has offered the reader a sophisticated theology that has depth and maturity and can stand up to the challenges of our time, while at the same time maintaining a style of writing that makes these more abstract concepts accessible to all. One does not have to be a theologian to read this book, but this book will offer the reader some of the best ideas of contemporary theology."
Heidi Ann Russell, author of Quantum Shift: Theological and Pastoral Implications of Contemporary Developments in Science
"Gerhard Lohfink has given us a splendid book: biblically grounded, theologically astute, spiritually concrete and challenging. In a style that is limpid, poetic, and personal, he leads the reader deeper into the mystery of Jesus' life, death, and resurrection and to a renewed sense of the hope that is in all who believe in the risen Christ. Lohfink's work wonderfully rekindles Christian eschatological faith and imagination."
Robert Imbelli, Associate professor emeritus, Boston College, author of Rekindling the Christic Imagination
"Addressing a broad audience with clear pastoral concern, Gerhard Lohfink admits that the questions which he raises in this volume are his own as well. He brings not only a wealth of biblical and theological sources, but also poetry, literature, science, and his own creative speculation to bear on the ultimate question which faces us all: Is This All There Is? Confronted with the stark reality of two possibilities—nothingness or radical hope—Lohfink centers his reflections on the Christian conviction that in the resurrection of Jesus, God's final `new creation' has already begun. Grounded in that hope he invites his readers to consider what it means to live with and in Christ—not only in the future, but here and now. This text is provocative, passionate, and pastoral—a rare combination and a volume well worth pondering."
Mary Catherine Hilkert, OP, Professor of Theology, University of Notre Dame