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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 ?
How the reconciliation achieved within Christendom compares eschatologically to the final redemption at the Second Coming, whether it is legitimate to conceive of the City of God in political terms, how that City relates to temporal life--these are permanent problems of Christian theology and political thought.
Although initially oblivious to the reason for this, Robbins soon realised that the Gulf war was being interpreted eschatologically.
In chapter 2, Chafe applies these four methods to the discussion of an engraved wine goblet given to Bach: at the literal-historical level it is a cup for drinking wine on a secular occasion; interpreted spiritually it can refer allegorically to the cup that Christ accepted in the Garden of Gethsemane, tropologically to the sacramental chalice of the Eucharist, and eschatologically to the heavenly meal of the afterlife (p.
Indeed, it reveals the destiny of created reality to be eschatologically fulfilled in and through somatic relationality.
The fifth and final didactic discourse of Matthew's gospel (24:1-25:46) is eschatologically oriented.
Of course, in this scenario, there is minimal possibility for apologetics as traditionally conceived in either direction: it is impossible either to verify or to falsify Christian faith except eschatologically.
The playing of "Taps" at a funeral is eschatologically symbolic: "Taps" is the last bugle call the soldier hears at night, before sleeping, and thus the last bugle call heard before the Reveille heralding the dawn (think too of the Missing Man Formations, aerial salutes performed at some military funerals, in which one airplane leaves the formation to fly heavenward).
The Catechism provides much evidence to suggest that good works for Hubmaier are indeed eschatologically salvific and do not simply constitute prerequisites for future rewards.
Eschatologically, baptism was the act of one called to live a resurrected life that testified to the future hope and to bear witness to the victory of Christ over sin and death.
Sin, death and disorder are definitively overcome eschatologically by Jesus' redemption; and they are radically temporally relativized (i.
In opposition to this interpretation, Cooper notes in his introduction that, while many early Christian theologians indeed prioritize the spiritual over the material, "the Fathers pose this priority not primarily in terms of a strict opposition between the spiritual and material per se, but in terms of an eschatologically oriented order (taxis) in which the external and material dimensions of the cosmos become charged with efficacious, performative potency precisely and exclusively in their subordinate relation to the 'internal,' spiritual sphere" (5-6).
Only God can bring about a utopia, and this occurs eschatologically.