Throughout the centuries individuals from vastly different cultures have sought to answer the question “what is the meaning of life?” through apocalyptic speculation. This survey of Jewish and Christian apocalyptic literature will explore the sociological significance of this tradition in the history of Western culture. This study will begin with biblical antecedents (Zechariah), cover several early Jewish examples (1 Enoch, Daniel, Dead Sea Scrolls, and Fourth Ezra), and treat some early Christian apocalypses (Revelation and the Apocalypse of Paul). Some attention will also be given to medieval Jewish (Merkavah literature) and Christian (The Vision of Drythelm, St. Patrick’s Purgatory and Dante’s Divine Comedy) texts as well. The study will conclude with a discussion of modern apocalypticism.
Currently enrolled students go to D2L for syllabus.