Original Research - Special Collection: P.M. Venter Dedication

The end is now: Augustine on History and Eschatology

Johannes van Oort
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 68, No 1 | a1188 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v68i1.1188 | © 2012 Johannes van Oort | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 19 October 2011 | Published: 04 May 2012


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Abstract

This article dealt with the church father Augustine’s view on history and eschatology. After analysing the relevant material (especially his City of God and the correspondence with a certain Hesyschius) it was concluded that, firstly, Augustine was no historian in the usual sense of the word; secondly, his concept of historia sacra was the heuristic foundation for his idea of history; thirdly, the present is not to be described in the terms of historia sacra, which implies that he took great care when pointing out any instances of ‘God’s hand in history’; fourthly, the end times have already started, with the advent of Jesus Christ; fifthly, because of the uniqueness of Christ’s coming, it runs counter to any cyclical worldview; sixthly, identifying any exact moment of the end of times is humanly impossible and seventhly, there is no room for any ‘chiliastic’ expectation.

Keywords

Augustine (354–430), history, time, eternity, City of God, Hesychius, chiliasm

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