Adso of Montier-en-Der

* 910/915 in the Jura mountains 992 on a pilgrimage to the holy land

Son of an aristocratic family. Oblate in the monastery of Luxeuil. In 934, Adso became school director at the monastery of St-Èvre in Toul. In 935 he moved to Montier-en-Der (in the wood Der). He became Abbott there in 968. In the 980's, he was called as Reform Abbott to the monastery in St-Bénigne close to Dijon, where he only remained for two years. He was often asked to write or rewrite saint's lives and miracula collections of which six have survived.

His most important work is his treatise on the coming of the AntichristClick for footnote which he wrote at the request of Queen Gerberga, the wife of King Lothar and the sister of Otto the Great. He argues that the end of time will coincide with the end of the entire Roman empire (see Ages of the World and the concept of the four world-empires), but the empire will not be completely destroyed as long as its 'dignitas' lives on in the kings of the Franks who will possess anew the Roman empire. The last and greatest of them will lay his crown and sceptre down at the mount of olives. Then the Antichrist would arise. This paved the way for the idea of the 'Last World Emperor'. This doctrine deeply influenced eschatological thinking in the middle ages.

  1 'Epistula ad Gerbergam reginam de ortu et tempore Antichristi'
Ages of the World

'The notion that the world or the cosmos, as a living thing, undergoes stages of development similar to those of a human individual is more than a poetic conceit; it is a ubiquitous belief...'Click for footnote

Systems of such periodisation differ and can be found in all sorts of religious and non-religious concepts. 'The simplest form of world-periodization is a binary one: before and after, then and now, now and then.'Click for footnote This system is not only known to us in the distinction AD (anno Domini) and BC (before Christ) and its follower CE (the common era) and BCE (before the common era), but is used by us every day (i.e. 'before someone was born' or 'after they got married').

Genesis and Apocalypse offer a framework for another kind of periodisation. A succession of periods, or ages, forms a linear movement from the moment of creation to the destruction of this world and the transcendence into the next.

An early jewish example of world-periods can be found in Daniel, where four world-empires are followed by a divine kingdom, symbolised by metals in Click for quoteand by beasts in Click for quote. In his Commentary on Daniel, Hieronymus of Milano names these four empires as the Babylonian, the Medich-Persian, followed by the Greek, and finally succeeded by the Imperium Romanum. Orosius states further that the Imperium Romanum cannot be succeeded before the End of the World, but 'transferred'. The further development of this idea led to the concept of the last world emperor, who would lay down his crown at the Mount of Olives.

The term 'ages of the world' usually refers to the doctrine of the six or seven 'aetates mundi', as found by Augustine in his Click for quote. He follows the tradition in the comparison of the ages of the world with the sabbath-week, but frees it from the typical equation that one day to god is a thousand years to man and instead uses generations in the description of the spans of the individual ages, which are not of the same duration in time, though. The first five ages embrace the time from Adam to the Advent of Christ and are opposed to the sixth (and still present) age, the duration of which cannot be named. The seventh age is the Sabbath, followed not by a night, but by the eighth day (and age), the day of God, or the heavenly kingdom.

Even though Augustine himself says that the duration of the sixth age cannot be known by man, many have tried to evaluate the date of its end, and thus the time of the Apocalypse.

  Jonathan Z. Smith - 'Ages of the World' in the Encyclopedia of Religion, Vol. 1, pg. 128
Jonathan Z. Smith - 'Ages of the World' in the Encyclopedia of Religion, Vol. 1, pg. 128
Alliterative Verse

The native Germanic tradition of English poetry and the standard form in Old English up to the 11th cent., recurring in Middle English as a formal alternative to the syllable-counting, rhymed verse borrowed from French. The Old English line was (normally) unrhymed, and made up of two distinct half-lines each of which contained two stressed syllables. The alliteration was always on the first stress of the second half-line, which alliterated with either, or both, of the stresses in the first half-line; e.g.

Nap nihtscua, norþan sniwde (Seafarer, 31)
(The shade of night grew dark,   it snowed from the north.)
  This entry is a citation from the Oxford Companion to English Literature

The final opponent of good. The name Antichrist is only used in Click for quote, Click for quoteand Click for quote. But there are many other names for him as well, such as the 'Son of Perdition'Click for quote. He is the evil counterpart of Christ, who will come as a kind of prelude to the parousia and the succeeding judgement of the dead. The Antichrist, equipped with the power of Satan, will try to seduce the elect and will torture and destroy those that will not succumb to his power. He will elevate himself and set himself as God in the temple of God and deceive through false miracles. He is the personification of everything that is contrary to the divine doctrine. Finally, he will be destroyed by Christ.

But the figure of the Antichrist is not always seen as a single individual. The Antichrist-figures of the dragon, the beast from the sea and the beast from the land in the Book of Revelation form a kind of Anti-trinity. Martin Luther used the image of the Antichrist not against an individual pope, but attacked the papacy itself as Antichrist.

2 A person who denies that Jesus is the Christ. Click for quote, Click for quote,Click for quote
3 People who live contrary to the doctrines of Jesus Christ have also often been called Antichrist.Click for footnote
  Throughout history, many people have been called Antichrist. Next to Antiochus, Nero and Domitian, who are mentioned by Adso, and the papacy (i.e. by Martin Luther) there can be found many modern names as well, such as Mussolini, Hitler, Stalin, Saddam Hussein, Martin Luther, Pope John Paul II, John F. Kennedy, Mikhail Gorbachev, David Rockefeller or Bill Gates. The supercomputer at European Union headquarters in Brussels (the nickname of which is ironically the beast) is also included in this list.

For further information please choose: Click for text, Click for text, Click for text, Click for text and the Click for text
1 See the Click for quoteof Adso of Montier-en-Der

A literary genre that flourished from about 200 BCE to about 200 CE, mainly in Jewish and Christian literature. It derives its name from the first word of the Apocalypse of John, or Book of Revelation, the Greek 'Apokalypsis' which means revelation. The use of the word as genre label became common from about the 2nd century on.

Apocalypses are revelatory texts, usually embedded in a dream or vision, in which a divine being (usually an angel) mediates or explains a chronologically or spatially transcendent reality. They mostly disclose an eschatological scenario that focuses on the judgement of the dead and the kingdom of God that is to come. The language applied is generally cryptic. Animal imagery, number symbolism and otherworldly journeys are common instruments.

With the exception of the Apocalypse of John, the existing Jewish and Christian apocalypses are pseudonymous. They used the names of famous ancient men, such as Enoch, Daniel or Peter and thus were 'prophecies after the fact', or 'vaticina ex eventu'Click for footnote. This gave them credulity through authority.

Apocalypses were written in times of crises, to give hope to the distressed and motivate them to hold on. A time would come when their enemies would be destroyed by godly intervention and they would be rewarded for their faithfulness.

Jewish or Christian examples of this genre can be found in the OT and NT as well as the Apocrypha and the Pseudepigrapha. To these belong among others the Book of Daniel, the Book of Revelation, the syr. Baruch, the 1. Enoch, the 4. Ezra, the Essene war scroll, or the Apocalypse of Peter and the Apocalypse of Paul.

Further Information

2 The Book of Revelation is also called the Apocalypse
3 Today, an apocalypse often means a devastating event ending in the destruction of the world or universe
  1 From the 'Encyclopedia of Religion'
Apocalyptic literature
  Apocalypses or literature with mainly apocalyptic elements.
  views and movements corresponding to the convictions expressed in apocalyptic literature

The term comes from the Greek 'apókryphos', which means 'hidden'. The Apocrypha is a collection of books that were probably all written from circa 300 BCE to 70 CE.

The texts of the Apocrypha and also the rest of the Pseudepigrapha are closely related to the thirty-nine Old Testament books canonised by Jews and Christians and sometimes related to the twenty-seven New Testament books canonised by Christians. They were very influential and were frequently considered inspired by many Jewish and Christian communities.Click for footnote

There have been deeply varying definitions as to the content of the Apocrypha. All definitions agree, however, that the Apocrypha contains books that are NOT in the Bible. 'But the question remains: WHOSE Bible?'Click for footnote The general view gives the name Apocrypha to a collection of Jewish writings that are included in the Roman Catholic and Orthodox Christian canon but not in the Hebrew or Protestant canon. Since the Council of Trent in April 1546, the Roman Catholics call these books 'deuterocanonical' (secondary, i.e. written later than the main part of the OT CanonClick for footnote). The books included in this group are , Tobit, Judith, 1 Esdras, Baruch, including the Letter of Jeremiah, the Ecclesiasticus (or Sirach), the Wisdom of Solomon and 1 and 2 Maccabees. The additions to the Book of Esther and to the book of Daniel also belong to this group. The additions to Daniel are divided into three parts. The Prayer of Azariah Susanna and Bel and the Dragon.

The New Testament Apocrypha is a different group entirely. Generally, these books were accepted only by individual Christian writers or by minority heretical groups. Some have also found their way into national canons. But 'as the New Testament canon was gradually given definite shape, these apocryphal books came to be excluded, first from public reading in churches, then from private reading as well'Click for footnote. Most of them have survived only in fragments.

The NT apocryphal books include gospels, acts, letters, and apocalypses and are almost exclusively pseudepigraphical (i.e., written in the name of the apostles or disciples or concerning individual apostlesClick for footnote).The credibility of these books has been a very difficult question. In the early 4th century, Eusebius used the categories 'acknowledged,' 'disputed,' 'spurious,' and 'absolutely rejected'Click for footnote

The NT apocryphal books include apocalypses ascribed to two Jameses, the Virgin Mary, Paul, Peter, Philip, Stephen, and Thomas.Click for footnote


1 From the 'Encyclopedia of Religion'
2 Private communication by Prof. Felix Just, S.J.
3 ibid.
4 From the Encyclopedia Britannica
5 ibid.
6 ibid.
7 ibid.

Armageddon (Harmagedon)

probably stemming from Hebrew, meaning 'Hill of Meggido'

According to Rev. 16.16 the location at which the unclean spirits gather the kings of the earth for the final battle between the forces of darkness and light.