Apocalypticism in Western History and Culture, by Bernard McGinn (ed.) PDF

By Bernard McGinn (ed.)

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Christians were now not only accorded full legal status and religious recognition but became, by the reign ofTheodosius, the empire's favored and dominant religious body. The emperors and their political establishment had been Christian since the death of Constantine, with the exception of Julian's brief attempt to reestablish traditional religious practices (361-363). " Nevertheless, many in the churches seemed suddenly to experience a loss of confidence in the prospects of human resources and institutions, and a new sense of vulnerability and impending doom, in sharp contrast to the boundless optimism of Eusebius and his imitators.

His conception of human fulfillment and perfection-being created in the image of "the uncreated God," "seeing God," and participating, through that vision, in God's indestructible life-inevitably includes growth; because they are not uncreated, humans must advance toward fulfillment in God by a slow, at times frustrating process of learning and becoming, just as each human individual must begin life as an infant and grow slowly to the fullness of his or her powers (Adv. haer. 38). ). Following a widely held tradition of Jewish and early Christian thought (Luneau 1964), Irenaeus seems to have tak~n it for granted that human history would be limited to a "week" of six thousand years (Adv.

For as it is truly God who raises up the human person, so also does the human person truly rise from the dead, and not allegorically, as I have shown repeatedly. And as we rise in actuality, so also shall we be actually trained beforehand for incorruption, and shall go forward and flourish in the times of the [millennial] kingdom, in order that we might be capable of receiving the glory of the Father. Then, when all things are made new, we shall truly dwell in the city of God. (Adv. haer. 2) c=- THE FINAL CENTURY OF PERSECUTIONS - - - - - As a religious group not officially sanctioned by the Roman state and as objects of widespread prejudice and ignorance, Christians were occasionally subject to arrest and persecution, on a variety of grounds, in the first two centuries of their history; it was only in the third century, however, that persecution became, in several brief but bloody episodes, systematic and universal.

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Apocalypticism in Western History and Culture, by Bernard McGinn (ed.)


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