The Online Encyclopedia and Dictionary







Eschatology literally means the study of the eschaton, the times of the end, 'last things', or 'end times.' In Zoroastrianism, Christianity, Rastafari and in Norse pagan theology, eschatology is a theology concerning the end of the world, as predicted in the prophecies of these faiths, and as recorded in their sacred texts. It can also be the study of general afterlife concepts of other religions, especially the western monotheistic faiths. In this broader sense, eschatology can refer to the messiah, a messianic era, the afterlife, and the soul in religions which have such beliefs.

The word is derived from Greek eskhatos meaning last, furthest, remote, with the root ex — "out of";

As far as we know, Zoroastrianism, by 500 B.C, had a fully developed concept of the end of the world as being devoured by fire, and is thus the oldest known eschatology.

Eschatologies of particular religions:

Ancient religions (no longer widely practiced)

Modern-day religions (still widely practiced)

Science has developed its own eschatologies, based on observation and rational speculation rather than traditional inspiration.

  • cosmology deals with theories about the possible origins and the ultimate fate of the Universe.
  • The multiverse idea might contradict the idea of a definitive end to existence itself, and the scientific study of time calls into question the very meaning of concepts like "beginning" and "end".
  • The technological singularity would be an incomprehensible transformation of society by technological means. If it goes as expected it would be the end of human society as such.

Some have compared the Marxist belief in World communism as a form of eschatology.

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Last updated: 08-18-2005 04:14:40
Last updated: 10-29-2005 02:13:46