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The Concept and Task of Eschatology — Theological and Philosophical Reflections*

  • Gerhard Sauter (a1)

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(1) The term ‘eschatology’ stems from Abraham Calov who entitled the twelfth and last section of his masterpiece of dogmatics, Systema locorum Theologicorum (1677), ‘EΣXATOΛOΓIA Sacra’. This final section, which concludes the Dogmatics of a leading representative of Lutheran Orthodoxy, deals with the ‘last things’ (de novissimis), specifically death and the state after death, the resurrection of the dead, the last Judgment, the consummation of the world, hell and everlasting death, and, finally, life everlasting. Calov does not define the artificial term ‘eschatologia’ which he himself had probably coined; he hardly even explains it in the course of his presentation, so that it remains a mere heading. Clearly it applies to the eschaton, namely ‘the end’, which, according to I Cor. 15.24, comes about when Christ, after subjugating all powers and authorities, delivers over the dominion to God the Father (quaestio 2). In the preceding section Calov had cited NT texts which explicitly or implicitly speak of the eschata, the last things, or of the last day/days as the conclusion of human history.

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* A lecture delivered to the sixth European Conference on the Philosophy of Religion, 29th August to 1st September 1986 in Durham, and to a seminar of the theological faculties of Bonn and Oxford, 29th September to 3rd October 1986 in Oxford.

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Scottish Journal of Theology
  • ISSN: 0036-9306
  • EISSN: 1475-3065
  • URL: /core/journals/scottish-journal-of-theology
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