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Wulfstan’s Eschatology and its Sources

Wulfstan’s Eschatology and its Sources

By Hans Bork

Published Online (2010)

Introduction: There is no shortage of scholarly works that study the eschatology of Medieval Christianity, as the topic has the rare combination of genuine historical relevance and broad popular appeal, and within this field works that treat the so-called ‘Millennial Panic’ of the year 1000 are particularly common. Much of the subject’s vigor no doubt derives from the wide net its scholars may cast when hunting for new material to study, as nearly any Christian artifact dating 200 years on either side of the first Millennium may be called ‘apocalyptic’ if it contains even the most oblique reference to the ‘End of Days.’ That Christianity is essentially an eschatological religion—in the sense that a believer’s devotion to Christ is an investment against an inevitable Final Judgement—makes for an environment wherein such casual references are quite common, and perhaps serves to distract attention from the corpus of ‘hardcore’ eschatologica that attempted to predict the specific time and nature of the Apocalypse. These works tend to be denser and more abstract, full of strange visions and menacing pronouncement, but despite their rich display of Biblical learning they are often dismissed by scholars as curiosities or worse.

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