Post-Historic Eschatology

Christianity today has become overly dependent on the category of history. And the eschatology that comes with it also suffers from this dependence. For this reason, renewal of Christian hope today must necessarily pass through a downsizing of history. And eschatology today must be a post-historic eschatology. This does not mean that history disappears but simply that it must be put at the service of life, not life at the service of a linear history. Temporal alienation, the most widespread and cross-cutting form of alienation today, has, according to sociologist H. Rosa[1], put life in check and continuously deprives it of its "resonance."[2] Thus the refocusing of eschatology on life must paradoxically pass through a critique of history-as-category, because in our world, history has become absolute and a nullification.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/12119

Not quite sure how we can call the Jewish view of time to be linear. Not until the Romans officially imposed a stable Sabbath (Saturday) on the Jews for economic reasons, the Jews also counted time as a return to the position of the moon in the sky; as well as, the various festivals making the rounds year after year. Not until you start flipping calendar pages would you be ware of forward motion of time. Before that, it was circles all the way.

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It seems artificial categories and tensions are created by the authors of these words. In the beginning God (Genesis) and the establishment of God’s kingdom (Daniel 2) certainly imply a linear concept of time while the creation of sun, moon, etc. acknowledge circular elements of time. Since these concepts fit with the natural experience of life, why create categories and tensions where they don’t fit with the “natural” order of things? Why? I have my own answer to this, my question, but it at least seems like a reasonable question. Why?

Spring festivals, harvest festivals… cyclical. Like all the surrounding cultures did.

The truly revolutionary thing of ancient Israel is not to delete ideas of cyclical time, but to add linear aspects, in other words to combine these two: The God whose multifaceted revelation they celebrate in the course of the year will one day intervene existentially in a more comprehensive way. And for the NT writers, this intervention is all about Jesus Christ.

From the garden, humans advance not back to the garden (cyclical), but forward to a city (linear) with garden motifs (cyclical). Cyclical plus linear. The known and the proven plus the unknown and the incomprehensible. That’s a major contribution to ancient worldviews.

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I had time only to read this quickly; but the theological ascendency of history has brought many problems. When it arose in Christian theology, its critics were buried in data and logic. Romanticism became somewhat scandalous. History was not a good frame for eschatology.

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