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Things Into Which Angels Long To Look: Apocalypticism, Mysticism And Eschatology In The New Testament

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Chapter Summary

The apocalypse offers a demonstration of the divine undergirding of the religious community, its practices and beliefs in a situation where that identity might have been under threat because of the extreme disjunction between tradition and reality. Apocalyptic imagery provides a framework for theology and the foundation for the central features of the Christian theological system. The poetry and illuminations of William Blake (1757-1827), with their idiosyncratic mythopoiesis, demonstrate the way in which mysticism rooted in apocalypse (and knowledge of the kabbalistic tradition) continued to pervade radical Christianity. The mission to the Gentiles and probably also the collection for the saints in Jerusalem were probably linked with the framework of an eschatological drama in which Paul is a crucial actor. There are significant strands in the New Testament which exhibit an outlook which invests present persons and events with a decisive role in the fulfilment of the Last Things.

Keywords: apocalyptic imagery; eschatological drama; mysticism; New Testament; religious community



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