IMC 2009: Sessions

Session 1606: Texts and Identities, XIII: Eschatological Thought in the Late Antique and Early Medieval Periods

Thursday 16 July 2009, 11.15-12.45

Organisers:Peter Darby, Department of Medieval History, University of Birmingham
Maximilian Diesenberger, Institut für Mittelalterforschung, Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften, Wien
Thomas Edmund Kitchen, Sidney Sussex College, University of Cambridge
Moderator/Chair:Thomas Edmund Kitchen, Sidney Sussex College, University of Cambridge
Paper 1606-aConcepts of a Dual Antichrist in Late Antiquity
(Language: English)
Thomas Edmund Kitchen, Sidney Sussex College, University of Cambridge
Paper 1606-bGregory the Great and the Apocalypse
(Language: English)
Charlotte Kingston, Department of History, University of York
Paper 1606-cThe Influence of Gregory the Great upon Bede's Eschatological Thought
(Language: English)
Peter Darby, Department of Medieval History, University of Birmingham
Abstract

The discussion will open with a paper exploring the varied ways in which several late antique authors interpreted Scriptural and apocryphal writings to support concepts of a dual antichrist. In doing so, it will examine the origins of such beliefs, the disparate forms they could take, and the relationships between them and other lines of thinking in eschatological exegesis (Kitchen). The following paper will explore the different emphases that Gregory the Great places on the end of the world across his different works, much of which can be accounted for by genre and audience. It will look at his tendency to combine discussion of the apocalypse with discussion of each individual’s mortality, and will discuss his overall message that whilst its date is unknown, the end of the world approaches, although one’s own date of death is even more imminent (Kingston). Gregory the Great was a decisive influence upon Bede’s eschatological thought, especially in Bede’s maturity and old age. The last paper will consider the influence of Gregory upon Bede’s eschatological thought, with specific reference to Bede’s adaptation of the World-Ages model. The World Ages doctrine, which Bede inherited from St Augustine and Isidore of Seville, features prominently throughout Bede’s exegetical works and it provides the theoretical structure for his two World Chronicles. This paper will demonstrate that Bede made subtle, but significant alterations to an established theoretical tradition to incorporate a Gregorian perception of the present age into the World-Ages scheme (Darby).