Sidebar: The Continuum History of Apocalypticism

Bernard McGinn, John J. Collins, and Stephen J. Stein, eds.

The Continuum History of Apocalypticism is a 1-volume, select edition of the 3-volume Encyclopedia of Apocalypticism first published in 1998. The main historical surveys that provided the spine of the Encyclopedia have been retained, while essays of a thematic nature, and a few whose subject matter is not central to the historical development, have been omitted. The work begins with 8 articles on “The Origins of Apocalypticism in the Ancient World,” extending from ancient Near Eastern myth through the Old Testament to the Dead Sea Scrolls, Jesus, Paul, and the book of Revelation. Next are 7 articles on “Apocalyptic Traditions from Late Antiquity to ca. 1800 C.E.,” including early Christian theology, radical movements in the Middle Ages, and both Jewish and Islamic apocalypticism in the classic period. The final section, “Apocalypticism in the modern Age,” includes 10 articles on apocalypticism in the Americas, in Western and Eastern Europe, and, finally, in modern Judaism and modern Islam. “Culled from the three-volume Encyclopedia of Apocalypticism, which the editors published in 1998, this one-volume book of essays aims to introduce readers to the basic issues relating to apocalypticism throughout history. The first part explores the origins of apocalypticism in Near Eastern myth, the Dead Sea Scrolls, early messianic movements and the teachings of Jesus and Paul. (A separate essay unpacks the always controversial book of Revelation.) Part two takes the story from the world of late antiquity through the middle Ages to the 18th century, focusing most heavily on the Western monotheistic traditions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. In the final section, various essays examine apocalypticism in the modern age, offering a truly global perspective on the resurgence of apocalyptic thinking. Contributors to this academic collection—which will be best appreciated by readers already conversant in the issues surrounding the scholarship of apocalypticism—include Paul Boyer, James Moorhead, James VanderKam, Moshe Idel and Abbas Armanat.”— Publishers Weekly