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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 ?
In any world he would be born and would live, the human being should not forget tht the YES of salvation was irrevocably uttered and that this universal decision of salvation, definitively and eschatologically accomplished in Jesus Christ, is a permanent invitation addressed to man's freedom that leads him to perdition or to salvation.
At the recent regional conference on Advancing Gender Equality and Women's Rights in Muslim Societies organised by the International Centre for Islam and Pluralism (ICIP) in Jakarta, representatives from all over the Muslim world re-stated the vital and sometimes neglected fact that from an Islamic point of view, men C and women and equal in terms of C their ontological origins and eschatologically equal in their final destiny C and responsibilities.
Perhaps the most responsible way to speak eschatologically is to do so rhetorically through the tripartite commitment to resistance, attentiveness, and solidarity.
This volume's wide reach also includes a treatment of Fielding's Tom Jones as Christian comedy (Thomas Woodman), three post-war Jewish rereadings of the King David story (David Brauner), an essay on spirituality in Updike and Ford (Martin Corner), and a study of the eschatologically aligned spirituality of the Canadian Douglas Coupland (Andrew Tate).
Furthermore, it has done so not through being rescued by something external to its own suspended state nor by a teleologically or eschatologically conceived end point beyond it.
Anderson agrees with Sizer on the major impact of this eschatologically driven theology in shaping particularly the American evangelical narrative on Israel.
For the Bible is, eschatologically, comedic in just this way, moving as it does from chaos to order.
If politics had disappointed, it had thrown the Irish back on their essential condition--and that could be no temporal state, but only the Kingdom of God: the eschatologically final city of which all persons are citizens.
Often he followed the most eschatologically frightening rendition of Bach's Come, Sweet Death--or the jittery Tu es Petrus by Henri Mulet (France, 1878-1967), which resembles Widor's Toccata recomposed by an existentialist--with the whisperings of some benign Haydn-era gossip like England's William Boyce.
Yet the poet's induction into ekphrastic phase space also inserts her into a kind of timeless recollection of her past, as if she has suddenly slipped from history itself, addressing her "love" eschatologically.
Paul bids the Corinthians think eschatologically about possessions, and even marriages, because "the present form of this world is passing away" (1 Corinthians 7:31).