The Persistence of Ignorance
Epilogue: The End of the World 173
: The End of the World Epilogue he apocalypse, a Christian conceptualization (related to earlier Judaic ideas) of the conclusion of life on earth has persisted throughout modern times. Collins (2000, p. 41) defined apocalypse as “a genre of revelatory literature with a narrative framework in which a revelation is mediated by an otherworldly being to a human recipient, disclosing a tran- scendent reality which is both temporal, insofar as it envisages eschatological salvation, and spatial, insofar as it involves another, supernatural world.” Stewart and Harding (1999, p. 286) explained: The term apocalypse (derived from the Greek apokalupis, meaning uncover or dis- close) refers most narrowly to the revelation of John recorded in the New Testament Book of Revelation. During the Middle Ages, it came also to refer to any revelation, prophecy, or vision of the end of history and the current world order, or to the end- time events themselves. More commonly, the apocalypse is understood as a set of beliefs related to the end of times or life on earth as we know it. O’Leary (1994, p. 7) writes: Apocalypse has been a dominant theme in Christian culture for over two thousand years… In addition to the importance of apocalyptic myth in Judaism and the early Christian church, the rhetoric of apocalypse has been used by such diverse communi- ties as the imperial and papal parties struggling for power in thirteenth-century Eu- rope, by Luther and the German Protestants in their battle against the papacy, by the English Puritans...
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