Stories about heavenly court and gifts for heaven.
- I'm rereading the stories of the Yiddish writer I.L. Peretz (1852-1905). One thing that strikes me is how often he uses the heavenly court as a setting, in whole or in part: either a soul has died and is being tried, or the whole world is being tried on Yom Kippur. The best known are "Bontsche the Silent" and "The Three Gifts", but there are quite a few others. Are there any other writers, Jewish or Christian, that use that theme so heavily? Niggle and the Ancient Mariner overhear the deliberations of the heavenly court, but those are only heard, while in Peretz the whole legal apparatus is, so to speak, center stage and visible.
Also, there is an interesting parallel between "The Three Gifts" in which a soul brings to heaven three "gifts" which are emblems of martyrdom, and Oscar Wilde's story "The Happy Prince", which ends with
the angels bringing to God "the most precious things in the city" which are the corpse of a dead swallow and the broken lead heart of the statue of a prince, who have together given themselves in self-sacrifice. I don't know whether Peretz could have actually read Wilde. Again, does anyone know of any other stories where symbols of good earthly deeds are brought up to heaven? It sounds a bit like Hans Christian Anderson whom I'm sure they both read; but I haven't read much Anderson myself.