apocalypse (əpŏk´əlĬps) [Gr.,=uncovering], genre represented in early Jewish and in Christian literature in which the secrets of the heavenly world or of the world to come are revealed by angelic mediation within a narrative framework. The genre seems to have arisen in Palestine in the 3d cent. BC, perhaps as a protest against an oppressive and dominant establishment, either Gentile or apostate Jewish. The writing is characterized by otherworldly journeys, visions, animal imagery derived from the common fund of ancient Middle Eastern mythological imagery, and number symbolism. Apocalyptic eschatology is marked by the conviction that God will intervene decisively in the present evil age and vindicate his suffering elect over their oppressors, raising the dead, consigning the wicked to eternal destruction, and establishing a new creation. In the Bible, apocalyptic elements are present in the books of Ezekiel, Isaiah, Joel, Zechariah, and Daniel. The collection known as the Pseudepigrapha contains a number of early Jewish apocalypses, including 1 Enoch, 4 Ezra, and 2 Baruch. In the New Testament the book of Revelation is often called the Apocalypse.

See C. Rowland, The Open Heaven (1982); E. Weber, Apocalypses (1999).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2014, The Columbia University Press.

Apocalypse: Selected full-text books and articles

The Apocalypse Is Everywhere: A Popular History of America's Favorite Nightmare
Annie Rehill.
Praeger, 2010
Apocalypse and Paradigm: Science and Everyday Thinking
Errol E. Harris.
Praeger, 2000
Countdown to Apocalypse: A Scientific Exploration of the End of the World
Paul Halpern.
Perseus Publishing, 2000
The Apocalyptic Year 1000: Religious Expectation and Social Change, 950-1050
Richard Landes; Andrew Gow; David C. Van Meter.
Oxford University Press, 2003
The Book of Revelation: Apocalypse and Empire
Leonard L. Thompson.
Oxford University Press, 1990
The Apocryphal Old Testament
H. F. D. Sparks.
Clarendon Press, 1984
Apocalyptic Spirituality: Treatises and Letters of Lactantius, Adso of Montier-En-Der, Joachim of Fiore, the Franciscan Spirituals, Savonarola
Bernard McGinn.
Paulist Press, 1979
The Apocryphal Apocalypse: The Reception of the Second Book of Esdras (4 Ezra) from the Renaissance to the Enlightenment
Alastair Hamilton.
Clarendon Press, 1999
Imperial Cults and the Apocalypse of John: Reading Revelation in the Ruins
Steven J. Friesen.
Oxford University Press, 2001
Apocalyptic Bodies: The Biblical End of the World in Text and Image
Tina Pippin.
Routledge, 1999
Arguing the Apocalypse: A Theory of Millennial Rhetoric
Stephen D. O'Leary.
Oxford University Press, 1998
Contemporary Apocalyptic Rhetoric
Barry Brummett.
Praeger Publishers, 1991
Apocalypse Observed: Religious Movements and Violence in North America, Europe, and Japan
John R. Hall; Philip D. Schuyler; Sylvaine Trinh.
Routledge, 2000
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