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A Beginner’s Guide to the End of the World

October 29, 2009

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:

Islam

Hebrew

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)

Antiquity:

Mesopotamia

Egypt

Zoroastrian

Norse

The East:

Hindu

Buddhist

The Americas:

Hopi

Aztec

Maya

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. October 29, 2009 7:15 pm

    howdy – surfed in here from io9 – great chart, really interesting content. I’m coming back!

  2. Barnesm permalink
    October 30, 2009 9:11 pm

    That’s really comprehensive, any favourities ?

    • phnuggle permalink*
      November 3, 2009 1:29 pm

      For religious eschatology, I’d have to stick with the Christian version for its pure insanity (and I mean that in the best way). I’m also a Norse mythology nerd, and I think Ragnarok is pretty badass. And for fictional versions, “The Highway” by Ray Bradbury for short stories and The Road by Cormac McCarthy for novels, no question.

  3. Clint permalink
    October 31, 2009 12:09 pm

    It’s pronounced Es-Ka-tology.

    I also came here from i09, and am fascinated by your research. You’ve done a really good job on this.

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