Living in the Last Days: New Testament Eschatology and its Contexts


This research unit aims to investigate how the belief of “living in the last days” shaped the writings of the New Testament corpus. The expectation of the forthcoming End in the immediate future formed the ideal basis for the early Christians’ refusal of any compromise with history as well as its political powers. This radicalism, historically labelled in scholarship as “eschatological”, strongly characterised and influenced early Christian literary production. In an attempt to move research forward and take account of the huge significance of eschatological thought in the wider context of the Early Imperial Times (Star, 2021), this research unit focuses specifically on the New Testament. It seeks to more fully understand and better nuance the peculiar characteristics that distinguishes these writings’ eschatologies from contemporary ancient Jewish and Graeco-Roman expectations of the End.


New Testament, Eschatology, Early Imperial Times, Tansculturality, Reception


Current Term:




Stefano De Feo

University of Bern


Gabriele Pelizzari

University of Milan

Martina Vercesi
University of Glasgow

Irene Barbotti 
Trinity College Dublin

Sofia 2024 Call for Papers

For the next meeting we will propose two sessions:

1. From Jesus' Eschatology to the Pauline Communities and their Contexts: in its first session, this research unit invites papers that explore the role of the eschatological theme both in Jesus’ historical preaching and in the first documents of early Christian literature, namely, the letters of Paul. Moreover, this session expects to gather papers focusing on the eschatological expectations of Paul’s communities and the very notion of “Entwicklung (development)” in Paul’s thought. In accordance with the comparative lens of this research unit, especially welcomed are analyses of the similarities and differences between all these early eschatological hopes and those of the various writings of Second Temple literature and the Graeco-Roman world.
2. Open Session: any paper related to the concept of the “End” in antiquity is welcome. In particular, we encourage interdisciplinary perspectives that can relate the eschatology of the New Testament with wider Jewish and Graeco-Roman traditions.