Eschatology in Antiquity : Forms and Functions book cover
1st Edition

Eschatology in Antiquity
Forms and Functions

ISBN 9781138208315
Published September 30, 2021 by Routledge
654 Pages 27 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

This collection of essays explores the rhetoric and practices surrounding views on life after death and the end of the world, including the fate of the individual, apocalyptic speculation and hope for cosmological renewal, in a wide range of societies from Ancient Mesopotamia to the Byzantine era.

The 42 essays by leading scholars in each field explore the rich spectrum of ways in which eschatological understanding can be expressed, and for which purposes it can be used. Readers will gain new insight into the historical contexts, details, functions and impact of eschatological ideas and imagery in ancient texts and material culture from the twenty-fifth century BCE to the ninth century CE. Traditionally, the study of “eschatology” (and related concepts) has been pursued mainly by scholars of Jewish and Christian scripture. By broadening the disciplinary scope but remaining within the clearly defined geographical milieu of the Mediterranean, this volume enables its readers to note comparisons and contrasts, as well as exchanges of thought and transmission of eschatological ideas across Antiquity. Cross-referencing, high quality illustrations and extensive indexing contribute to a rich resource on a topic of contemporary interest and relevance.

Eschatology in Antiquity is aimed at readers from a wide range of academic disciplines, as well as non-specialists including seminary students and religious leaders. The primary audience will comprise researchers in relevant fields including Biblical Studies, Classics and Ancient History, Ancient Philosophy, Ancient Near Eastern Studies, Art History, Late Antiquity, Byzantine Studies and Cultural Studies. Care has been taken to ensure that the essays are accessible to undergraduates and those without specialist knowledge of particular subject areas.

Table of Contents

List of figures

List of tables

List of contributors


List of abbreviations


Helen Van Noorden, Hilary Marlow and Karla Pollmann

Section 1: Ancient Near East and Hebrew Bible

1 Beyond the Future: Mesopotamian Perceptions of the Very End

Dina Katz

2 Individual and Universal Eschatology in Zoroastrianism

Leon Goldman

3 Egyptian Oracles and the Afterlife

Alexandre Loktionov

4 Eschatology in the Book of Isaiah: Multiple Perspectives on the Promised Times

Uta Schmidt

5 "As I Looked": Visionary Experiences and Conceptions of Place in the Book of Ezekiel

Hilary Marlow

6 Daniel and Daniel Apocalyptica

Lester L. Grabbe

Section 2: Greek World

7 Beyond the Stream of the Ocean: Hades, the Aethiopians and the Homeric eschata

George A. Gazis

8 ‘Orphic’ Eschatologies? Varying Visions

of the Afterlife in Greek Thought

Radcliffe Edmonds

9 Eschatological Visions in Pindar and Empedocles

Chiara R. Ciampa

10 Plato’s Myths, the Soul and its Intra-cosmic Future

Alex Long

11 Contemplating the End of Roman Power: Polybius' Histories in Context

Nicolas Wiater

Section 3: Jewish Texts of the Hellenistic and Roman Periods

12 Protology and Eschatology in the Enochic Traditions

Gabriele Boccaccini

13 Dreams and Visions of Eschatological Trees in The Book of the Watchers (1 Enoch 1-36)

Frances Flannery

14 Apocalyptic Eschatology in the Dead Sea Scrolls: The End as Counter-Cultural Discourse on Society and Creation

Albert Hogeterp

15 Returning from the Diaspora of the Soul: Eschatology in Philo of Alexandria

Sami Yli-Karjanmaa

16 End Times and Ending Times in 4 Ezra

Carla Sulzbach

17 Eschatology in the Early Jewish Pseudepigrapha and the Early Christian Apocrypha

Lorenzo DiTommaso

Section 4: Etruscan and Roman Worlds

18 Etruscan eschata

L. Bouke van der Meer

19 Hope and Empire in Ciceronian Eschatology

Jed W. Atkins

20 Lucretius ‘On the Nature of Things’: Eschatology in an Age of Anxiety

Alessandro Schiesaro

21 Eschatological Temporalities in Vergil’s Elysium

Giovanna Laterza

22 The End is the Beginning is the End: Apocalyptic Beginnings in Augustan Poetry

Elena Giusti

23 Eschatology in Seneca: The Senses of an Ending

Gareth Williams

24 Enduring Death and Remembering the Apocalypse: Identity, Timespace, and Lucanian Paradoxes

Katharine M. Earnshaw

25 Popular Eschatological Visions in the Roman Empire

Jerry Toner

26 Four Eschatological Emperors: Augustus, Nero, Vespasian and Hadrian

Christopher Star

Section 5: New Testament texts

27 The End of the Temple or the End of the World? 1st Century Eschatology in the Gospels of Mark and Matthew

Sarah Underwood Dixon

28 The End—What and When? Eschatology in Luke-Acts

Steve Walton

29 Eschatology in the Gospel of John and the Johannine Epistles

Jörg Frey

30 Eschatology—Pauline and Catholic Epistles

Eve-Marie Becker

31 The Book of Revelation: The Apocalypse of Jesus Christ

Christopher Rowland

Section 6: Late Antiquity and Byzantine World

32 Eschatology in Origen from Alexandria

Anders-Christian Jacobsen

33 Eschatology in Early Christian Poetry

Nikolaus Klassen

34 The Eschatological Thought of Basil the Great and Gregory of Nyssa

Sergey Trostyanskiy

35 Knowing One’s Place: Eschatological Thought in Augustine

Karla Pollmann

36 Eschatological Motifs and Patterns of Thought in Christian Hagiography

Peter Gemeinhardt

37 Syriac Eschatology in Antiquity

Witold Witakowski

38 Eschatology and Anti-Jewish Polemic: Examples from the Armenian Tradition

Zaroui Pogossian

39 Early Muslim Apocalypses and their Origins

David Cook

40 Christian Eschatology in Late Antique/Byzantine Egypt

David Frankfurter

41 Symbols, Icons, Liturgy: Eschatology in Early Christian Art

Vladimir Cvetkovic

42 Eschatology in the Apocalyptic Revival in Judaism (6th-9th centuries CE) in its Historical Context

Philip Alexander

Index of names and subjects

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Hilary Marlow is Fellow, Director of Studies and Tutor at Girton College, Cambridge, UK, and teaches Hebrew Bible in the Faculty of Divinity, University of Cambridge, UK. Her research interests include nature in the Hebrew Bible, ecology and the Bible and prophetic texts of the Hebrew Bible. She is author of Biblical Prophets and Contemporary Environmental Ethics (2009) and numerous articles and essays.

Karla Pollmann is Dean of the Faculty of Arts at the University of Bristol, UK, and Professor of Classics and Theology. She is also an honorary member of the University of Aarhus, Denmark, and the University of Stellenbosch, South Africa, and a Distinguished Visiting Fellow at Green College, UBC, Vancouver, Canada. Her research interests span Classical and Late Antique literature and culture, and their reception. In 2020, she was awarded a Humboldt Research Prize in recognition of her internationally leading work. Major publications include The Oxford Guide to the Historical Reception of Augustine, 3 vols (2013) as Editor-in-Chief, and The Baptized Muse (2017).

Helen Van Noorden is Senior Lecturer in Classics and Wrigley Fellow at Girton College, Cambridge, UK, and in 2020–2022 is Associate Professor and AIAS-COFUND Fellow at the Aarhus Institute of Advanced Studies, Denmark. She is the author of Playing Hesiod: the ‘Myth of the Races’ in Classical Antiquity (2015). Her current focus is a monograph study and translation of Books 3–5 of the Sibylline Oracles.