Eschatology in the early church : with special reference to the theses of C.H. Dodd and M. Werner
Martin, Gordon Wood
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The purpose of this thesis is to set in perspective, as far as is possible, the eschatology of the Early Church. The work required for it has been undertaken in the conviction that this is a significant area of investigation. It is impossible to gain an adequate picture of Early Church life and theology, if any one facet of thought, which was important to the people of the time, is left out of consideration. It is also felt that the writers and thinkers of the early centuries stood so much closer in their thought forms to those writers who set down the words of the Scriptures, and especially of the New Testament, that what they thought is a probable indication as to how the Scriptural writers themselves thought. It also seems to be true that the Church of Jesus Christ today has little to say concerning eschatology, and when it does speak, does so with an uncertain voice. The recovery of an understanding with regard to the assumptions of hope of the Early Fathers must put Christians today in a better position to make their own assessment in the field of eschatology. The study undertaken for this thesis has presented a constant challenge to the faith and understanding of the writer. It was originally intended to take the study through to the Council of Nicaea in 325 A.D. The volume of work made this impossible, but it is believed that the conclusions reached about the development of thought up to c.250 A.D. indicates. the trend of thought up to that watershed in the Ancient Church.