Eschatological ideas have influenced humanity’s worldview and perception of time from the Middle Ages to the time of the Enlightenment. Symbolic topoi such as the Heavenly Jerusalem, the Antichrist or the Last Judgment shaped the social order, concepts of power, and ideas of the afterlife, as well as politics. They were also reflected in art and architecture. Even in the transition to modern times, eschatological interpretive patterns have not lost their significance. In particular, the idea of the Last Emperor from the Apocalypse of Pseudo-Methodius, as well as the idea adopted therein of four kingdoms from the Book of Daniel, played an important role in various attempts to legitimize rulership. Eschatological ideas also played a crucial role during the Reformation, for example, in the theology of Thomas Müntzer and Martin Luther. In Muscovy, unlike in Western Europe, eschatological ideas did not begin to shape concepts of power until the late 14th and especially during the 15th century. How did eschatological ideas come to Eastern Europe and to what extent did their reception differ from that in Western Europe? In what ways did expectations of the apocalypse influence everyday life, the concepts of power, architecture and the art of this period?
Based on these questions, the aim of this workshop is to investigate the effect of eschatological interpretive patterns and concepts in Western and Eastern Europe in a comparative, transcultural, and interdisciplinary way. The workshop will shed light on the reasons why the reception of eschatological ideas intensified during the transition from the late Middle Ages to the early modern period, and it will consider the significance of political and economic crises and social tensions. In addition, participants will examine how and to what degree eschatological notions shaped legitimizations of the state, group identities, day-to-day life, and religious behavior of the people. To what extent were these notions also a means of expressing protest, questioning legitimacy, and demanding participation? What changes did eschatological ideas undergo in multireligious and multiethnic states? In what communicative spaces were other concepts of time able to replace eschatological concepts?
• Eschatology as a means of legitimizing rulership and their critics
• Media of eschatology (interpretive patterns, narrative forms, discourses and iconographic programs)
• Eschatology and the Reformation
• Heresy and schisms
• Eschatology and the emergence of scientific disciplines
• Eschatological perceptions and notions of time
• Apocalyptic expectations as an expression of social and political tensions