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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.
The pastoral implications of understanding the church as an eschatological community include the readiness of church members to criticize their official leaders publicly in their exposure of church faults such as the sexual abuse scandal in the priesthood, and in their various efforts to bring about structural change in the church regarding, for example, the way in which bishops are selected and in the standards of eligibility for ordination to the priesthood.
Ebel also captures some Americans who fought for an eschatological redemption of the nation.
This suffering is considered eschatological suffering by virtue of the end time (end phase of creation) in which it occurs and the end purpose for which it is taken on.
Fatah on March 22 accused Hamas of intending to establish an "Islamic emirate" in the Gaza Strip somewhat in line with the eschatological ideology of Iran's theocracy.
Obviously, from the perspective of the present, there is no empirical means to evaluate the veracity or accuracy of eschatological truth claims.
The church will become yet another institution of this world, which can of course be welcomed, and she may even become a desirable player in line with the dominant modern paradigm in the public domain but she will loose her prophetic, and above all her eschatological character.
Previously, Mik's works have featured complex arrangements of screens, dizzying camera movements, ambiguously eschatological scenarios, and an almost Meliesian sense of creepy artifice.