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the branch of theology or biblical exegesis concerned with the end of the world



the religious doctrine of the final destiny of the world and mankind. Individual eschatology, or the doctrine of life after death of the individual human soul, should be distinguished from universal eschatology, which is concerned with the purpose of the cosmos and history, with their end, and with that which comes after their end.

Ancient Egypt played an important part in the development of individual eschatology, and universal eschatology owes much to Judaism, which focuses on a mystical interpretation of history as a rational process directed by the will of a personal god: history, directed by god, must overcome itself in the coming of the “new heaven and new earth.” Individual eschatology becomes a part of universal eschatology, for the coming of “the age to come” will be the time of the resurrection of the righteous.

Christian eschatology grew out of a Judaic eschatology freed of national aspirations and supplemented by classical, Egyptian, and Zoroastrian eschatological motifs. It proceeded from the belief that the eschatological era had already begun with Jesus Christ (the Messiah). With his first coming, history comes to an end only “invisibly” and continues to last, albeit in the shadow of the end; his second coming (when the Messiah is to judge the living and the dead) will make the end a visible reality.

New Testament eschatology expressed itself in complex symbols and parables, eschewing clarity; nevertheless, the medieval consciousness created a detailed picture of the afterworld, as reflected in countless apocryphal stories and “visions.” On the level of graphically apprehended myths, eschatological motifs are often shared by different religions, such as Islam and Catholicism. With the onset of the age of capitalism, some of the functions, motifs, and themes of eschatology were taken over by the ideology of utopia.


Dieterich, A. Nekyia. Leipzig, 1893.
Bultmann, R. History and Eschatology. Edinburgh, 1957.


References in periodicals archive ?
Second, Lumen gentium's historical and eschatological approach rendered obsolete the neo-Scholastic terms and categories .
VanDrunen's most controversial claim, however, may be his insistence that Christians, in an ultimate sense, are no longer under the natural law because they are partakers of eschatological life by their union with Christ.
It would take Peguy years to formulate his cite harmonieuse, his eschatological version of what Paul Fiddes called "the desired world.
Our life of hope is based upon God's promise to provide eschatological confirmation of what we now anticipate.
The focus on the new creation indicative of an eschatological Christian theology brings this discussion full circle back to the postmodern rejection of realism with which the essay began.
This worldview found its typical medium of expression in the rather loose macro-genre "apocalypse," which was a report of supernatural revelation, with an eschatological dimension.
Perhaps it can be added that the absence of eschatological thinking from Philo's thought teaches us something about the community he sought to lead.
He concludes that a common eschatological message, forged in the history of interpretation of Isaiah, links Qumran and the Jesus movement.
Obviously, from the perspective of the present, there is no empirical means to evaluate the veracity or accuracy of eschatological truth claims.
Yoder's account of the eschatological pull of all proclamation destabilizes the sufficiency of the Christian's self-understanding as one who successfully proclaims or testifies to God.
The movie stops dead in its tracks during a long, not-so-magical, eschatological tour in the third act with Schreiber apparently under orders to hone his zombie performance in ``The Manchurian Candidate.
Previously, Mik's works have featured complex arrangements of screens, dizzying camera movements, ambiguously eschatological scenarios, and an almost Meliesian sense of creepy artifice.