Eschatology and the Quest for the Historical Jesus

Benedict T. Viviano

in The Oxford Handbook of Eschatology

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

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This article discusses eschatology and the quest for the historical Jesus. It outlines the history of the debates over the exact character of the eschatological hope preached by Jesus and explains the terms “eschatology,” “apocalyptic,” and “kingdom.” The heavenly scene in Daniel 7:13–14 involves a transfer of power from one divine figure (the Ancient of Days) to another (the one like a Son of man). Also, early Jewish and Christian reflection on the kingdom of God and on God's plan of salvation for his people led them to a rough periodization, or theology of history. The modern quest for the historical Jesus, the first quest (1835–1906), began with the remarkable, extensive work by David Friedrich Strauss, The Life of Jesus (1835–1836). The second quest, from roughly 1919 to 1964, is the period of dialectical theology, form criticism, existentialist lives of Jesus, and the Luther renaissance. Beginning at the University of Chicago, the third quest for the historical Jesus began in the last two decades of the twentieth century.

Keywords: historical Jesus; history; quest; kingdom; Daniel; theology; David Friedrich Strauss; University of Chicago

Article.  8914 words. 

Subjects: Religion ; Philosophy of Religion ; Christianity

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