The Promised End: Eschatology in Theology and Literature

This book brings Christian theology, creative literature and literary critical theory into dialogue on the theme of 'the end'. Where appropriate it also considers recent scientific views on the nature of time. 'Postmodern' critical theorists and many other writers emphasize the 'open' nature of endings, but this book suggests that the mixture of openness and closure in Christian eschatology not only offers a coherent sense of an ending, but may make it possible to construct endings in the here and now. On the way to this conclusion the book provides an exegesis of novels, plays and poems by such writers as John Fowles, Julian Barnes, Doris Lessing, Samuel Beckett, T. S. Eliot, Virginia Woolf, James Joyce and Shakespeare. Among critical theorists, postmodern and otherwise, it considers especially the ideas of Frank Kermode, Northrop Frye, Jacques Derrida and Paul Ricoeur. The author also examines the main themes of Christian eschatology - such as death, parousia, resurrection, human destiny and the nature of eternity - and offers a critical view of the doctrines of the last things produced by major modern theologians, including Jurgen Moltmann and Wolfhart Pannenberg. Through this dialogue this book aims to form an image of the eternal 'wholeness' of persons in the life of the triune God that takes seriously the deconstruction of images of domination.