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Document Details :

Title: God Interrupts History
Subtitle: Apocalypticism as an Indispensable Theological Conceptual Strategy
Author(s): BOEVE, Lieven
Journal: Louvain Studies
Volume: 26    Issue: 3   Date: fall 2001   
Pages: 195-216
DOI: 10.2143/LS.26.3.912

Abstract :
The Christian apocalyptic imagination is the result of a combination of two Jewish expectations: the coming of an earthly Messiah who was to establish a kingdom of peace and justice and the execution of
God’s final judgement at the end of history. This stock of ideas has been broadly received in the course of the preceding two millennia, and has come to expression in both religious and secular forms. The apocalyptic era was to be looked forward to and promised to be characterised by salvation for the chosen, the purification of iniquity and the destruction of the forces of evil, all of which formed part of the expectation of the definitive completion (and thus dissolution) of history. This apocalyptic fever frequently found its way into sectarian and often millenaristic movements. Even a number of Church Fathers, such as Irenaeus of Lyon, envisaged the dawn of a thousand-year dominion as an interruption in the course of history. A serious upsurge of apocalyptic fever gave rise to figures such as Joachim of Fiore in the twelfth century as well as the Schwärmer movement, the ‘leftist’ Reformation, in the sixteenth century (Thomas Müntzer, Hans Hut). In this instance apocalypticism went hand in hand with significant dissatisfaction concerning the existing situation and an appeal for radical change. Chiliasm – an alternative term for millennarism – can be discerned even today among the Adventists and the Jehovah’s Witnesses.

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