New Testament Eschatology. Historical and Cultural Background

Author: Buchanan, George
Instead of opting for one of the standard explanations of eschatology, this study looks for the origin of the concept in antiquity, requiring an examination of the Hebrew Scripture, the New Testament, the Dead Sea Scrolls, rabbinic literature, the church fathers, and surrounding Greek literature and history. It involves a study of the legal, hermeneutical, cultural, historical, and political thought forms of ancient expectations. Beliefs and practices related to eschatology are examined from eighth-century Isaiah to the end of the Crusades in relationship to the promised land and the doctrine of redemption. Insights are employed to understand such New Testament problems as the Battle of Armageddon and the mystical number 666. It also uncovers the contemporary consequences of this dynamic doctrine.


"There is a great deal of cogent and stimulating discussion here, not least in showing the dangers of much eschatological interpretation for the modern world. . . . provocative and worth reading. . . . helpful in theological colleges, seminaries and universities more generally." - Theological Book Review

"In eight marvellously learned and earnest chapters, George Wesley Buchanan has pulled together the fruits of his work since 1956 on eschatology not only in the New Testament but also in the Hebrew scriptures and through the centuries, in Jewish (and other) as well as Christian circles. One does not need to agree with the many presuppositions and array of findings to learn new insights and possibilities. . . . always Buchanan seeks to read anew the ancient sources, in Hebrew, Greek, Aramaic, Syriac, and Latin. Great learning is shown in the breadth of the secondary literature cited." -- Professor John Reumann "It is characteristically provocative, learned, and . . . he opens up new and important ways of thinking about ancient material in general and the bible in particular." - Calum Carmichael

"The book should be required reading of all freshmen in seminaries. A lively discussion would ensue. The Church would be challenged to reconsider a vast amount of its traditional teaching. This is a disturbing book, but in this writer's opinion a dose of strong medicine that could do no end of good." -- Sir Anthony Buzzard

"The strength of this book . . . is an interpretation which encompasses Jewish, Christian, and Islamic texts. Such an eschatology expects a more 'this worldly' deliverance than much of our modern 'pie in the sky by and by' hope." - Dr. Charles E. Wolfe,