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Consistent Eschatology

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Chapter Summary

This chapter discusses the thesis maintained by Schweitzer and others that Jesus held to an expectation which, by subsequent events, was proved false; and that the church from the first has failed to appreciate the true significance of this (so-called) "life of misunderstanding". The basis of eschatology is anthropological: it is the 'will for life fulfilment' in the present, despite the discouragement of knowledge. The essence of New Testament eschatology is the overcoming of knowledge by will, and this is expressed in the form of Judaic apocalyptic. Our criticism of Consistent Eschatology is most conveniently undertaken in two areas of concern, methodology and interpretation. Consistent Eschatology concludes that the delay of the Parousia created a total, crucial and indeed fatal crisis in the life of the early church. Few writers would deny the value of the impulse given to New Testament study by Schweitzer and other exponents of Consistent Eschatology.

Keywords: Consistent Eschatology; Jesus; New Testament; Parousia; Schweitzer



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