A Beginner’s Guide to the End of the World
Eschatology – the study of last things, specifically the apocalyptic beliefs of world religions. (Don’t ask me to pronounce it. I don’t know how. I faked it through my thesis presentation, but no one ever called me on it, so I don’t think anyone else does, either.)
I didn’t really spend much time on religious apocalyptic beliefs in my thesis (the Oxford Handbook of Eschatology is over 1000 pages – I’d never have gotten to the sci-fi part) but I did write up sort of a primer on religious beliefs so I’d be able to see the roots of the modern patterns. They’re all short little entries (only a couple hundred words long, usually) about the eschatological beliefs of most of the major religons (ancient and modern) of the world.
So, for your edification and reading pleasure: A Beginner’s Guide to the End of the World.
The Big Three:
Christianity (by far the longest, obviously, but if you’ve ever wondered wtf is up with the Rapture and Revelation, this is where to go)