The Eschatology of the New Testament Church

Christopher Rowland

in The Oxford Handbook of Eschatology

Published in print December 2007 |
Published online September 2009 | | DOI:


The term “eschatology” is used to describe the critical nature of human decisions, the fate of the individual believer's soul after death, the termination of this world order and a setting up of another, events like the last judgment and the resurrection of the dead, and a convenient way of referring to future hopes about the coming of God's kingdom on earth, irrespective of whether in fact it involves an ending of the historical process. It is in this last sense that eschatology is being used in this article, as a shorthand way of referring to this future hope and its fulfillment, which was an important feature of many texts from the Second Temple period. This article examines the evidence which indicates the importance of eschatology in the New Testament writings. It also surveys the eschatological elements in the Gospels, the Pauline letters, and the Book of Revelation. The article concludes by assessing the degree to which the failure of early Christianity's eschatological hopes contributed to a change in the pattern of Christian faith and practice.

Keywords: New Testament; Gospels; Pauline letters; Book of Revelation; Christianity

Article.  9046 words. 

Subjects: Religion ; Philosophy of Religion ; Christianity

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