By Bernard McGinn (ed.)
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2-3). For Origen, the life-giving heart of all scripture, even of its apocalyptic passages, is its ability to reveal Christ as savior to the contemplative reader. In his view, that revelation is to be sought less in dramatic future events than in the long growth of personal knowledge. Through the next four centuries, the theological and exegetical legacy of Origen-especially his stand on eschatological issues-was to become, at various points, the focus of bitter controversy in both the Greek- and Latinspeaking churches.
Following a widely held tradition of Jewish and early Christian thought (Luneau 1964), Irenaeus seems to have tak~n it for granted that human history would be limited to a "week" of six thousand years (Adv. haer. 3), although he nowhere indulges in more precise calculations about just when the end is due. His conception of the scenario of history's end closely follows Christian scriptural sources. As suggested by 2 Thessalonians and Daniel, the end-time will be inaugurated, Irenaeus believes, by the appearance of the Antichrist, an unjust judge and ruler "who concentrates in himself every satanic error" and who will attempt to be worshiped as a god (Adv.
Like Origen, Jerome tended to assume that the main features of the traditional scenario for the end of history, drawn from the New Testament, referred to actual future persons and events, but that they were also capable of allegorical or spiritual interpretations, in terms of asceticism and the life of the church, that are often more important for the Christian reader. In interpreting Daniel, for example, Jerome remained critical of the pagan Porphyry's approach, which took the book's symbolism simply to be referring to contemporary events.
Apocalypticism in Western History and Culture, by Bernard McGinn (ed.)