‘Christ Glorified in the Court of Heaven’ Fra Angelico (1387-1455)

To purchase the book for this course, click icon.God as Consummating His Works or the Last Things by Austin Woodbury (Paperback Book)

Course Description

The word Eschatology is derived from two Greek words: Escaton, meaning the end times and Logos, meaning study or research. Eschatology, therefore, is the study of the end times or the Last Things.

Eschatology typically investigates the various aspects of individual eschatology, namely Death, Judgment, Heaven and Hell, as well as the aspects of cosmic eschatology, namely the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, the Resurrection of the dead, the General Judgment, the Kingdom of God and the New Creation. This course is therefore divided into two parts: Anthropological Eschatology, which considers how Jesus consummates his act of Redemption for the individual human person; and Cosmological Eschatology, which explores what Christ has revealed concerning the end of time.

Anthropological Eschatology begins by considering the nature of death and why we all must suffer it. It is here we consider the condition of the human soul after its separation from the body by death. This study answers all those burning questions people have regarding how we know things once we die, what we will know, and whether or not we will be reunited with our loved ones. In conjunction with this study of death we also investigate what is known as the Particular Judgment: the judgment whereby each of us will individually stand before Christ to give an account of our lives. This judgment is different from the General Judgment, studied later in the course, which deals with the judgment of all humanity at the end of time.

After studying the Particular Judgment we consider the theology of Heaven. Here we see that Heaven essentially consists of the Beatific Vision, and the Beatific Joy that flows from this ‘face to face’ vision of God. This is truly a most beautiful part of sacred theology. After this we study the theology of Hell and its essential nature, considering its penalties and why they are so. This leads us to study the existence and nature of Purgatory. Here we investigate the Church’s teaching about Purgatory and why souls may go there. We also explore many questions concerning the condition of the souls in Purgatory and our ability to communicate with them.

The second part of this course, Cosmological Eschatology, investigates the end of the physical world as we know it. Here we study what Jesus has revealed concerning his Second Coming and the signs which will accompany this momentous event. In this part of the course we also consider the Resurrection of the Body and the General Judgment.

You are sure to find this a most fascinating and intriguing course. Book us now!

Course Objectives

  1. To obtain a firm understanding of the nature of death and what happens to the soul once it is separated from the body.
  2. To understand what is meant by the Particular Judgment.
  3. To gain an understanding of the nature of Heaven, Hell and Purgatory.
  4. To learn about the Second Coming of Christ, the Resurrection of the Body and the General Judgment, occurring at the end of time.

Course Duration

6 Weeks: 12 Hours (i.e., two hours, one night a week).

Recommended Reading

Popular Level Reading:

Aquinas, Thomas. Catechetical Instructions of St. Thomas Aquinas. Edited by Paul A Böer Sr. Translated by Rev. Joseph B. Collins. Veritatis Splendor Publications, 2012.

Guardini, Romano. The Last Things: Concerning Death, Purification after Death, Resurrection, Judgment and Eternity. Translated by Charlotte E. Forsyth and Grace B. Branham. Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1965.

Levering, Matthew. Jesus and the Demise of Death: Resurrection, Afterlife, and the Fate of the Christian. Wako, TX: Baylor University Press, 2012.

Nichols, Terence. Death and Afterlife: A Theological Introduction. Grand Rapids, MI: Brazos, 2010.

O’Collins, Gerald. Believing in the Resurrection: The Meaning and Promise of the Risen Jesus. New York: Paulist Press, 2012.

_________. The Easter Jesus. London: Darton, Longman and Todd Ltd., 1973.

_________. What are they saying about the Resurrection? New York: Paulist Press, 1978.

Ratzinger, Joseph. Introduction to Christianity. Translated by J.R. Foster. San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2004.

Rausch, Thomas P. Eschatology, Liturgy, and Christology: Toward Recovering an Eschatological Imagination. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2012.

Schönborn, Christoph. From Death to Life: The Christian Journey. Translated by Brian McNeil. San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1995.

Thematic Works for this Course:

Catholic Church. Catechism of the Catholic Church. Homebush: St Pauls, 1994.

_________. Vatican Council II: The Conciliar and Post Conciliar Documents, New Revised Edition, vol. 1. Edited by Austin Flannery. New York: Costello Publishing Company, 1996.

Scholarly Level Reading:

Alison, Dale. Resurrecting Jesus: The Earliest Christian Tradition and its Interpreters. New York: T & T Clark, 2005.

Alison, James. Raising Abel: The Recovery of the Eschatological Imagination. New York: Crossroad, 1996.

Aquinas, Thomas. ‘Light of Faith’: The Compendium of Theology. Sophia Institute, 1993. (Reprint of Herder edition 1958).

_________. Summa theologiæ, vos. 4 & 5. Westminster, Merryland: Christian Classics, 1981.

Balthasar, Hans Urs von. Dare We Hope That All Men Be Saved. San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1988.

Beale, G. K. “The Eschatological Conception of New Testament Theology.” In Eschatology in Bible and Theology: Evangelical Essays at the Dawn of a New Millennium, edited by Kent E. Brower and Mark W. Elliott, 11-52. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1997.

Beasley-Murray, George R. Jesus and the Last Days: The Interpretation of the Olivet Discourse. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, Inc., 1993.

Bulgakov, Sergius. The Bride of the Lamb. Translated by Boris Jakim. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans, 2002.

Corell, Alf. Consummatum Est: Eschatology and Church in the Gospel of John. London: SPCK, 1958.

Daley, Brian The Hope of the Early Church: A Handbook of Patristic Eschatology. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2002.

Fletcher-Louis, Crispin H. T. “The Destruction of the Temple and the Relativization of the Old Covenant: Mark 13:31 and Mattthew 5:18.” In Eschatology in Bible and Theology: Evangelical Essays at the Dawn of a New Millennium, edited by Kent E. Brower and Mark W. Elliott, 145-169. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1997.

Garrigou-Lagrange, Reginald. Life Everlasting: A Theological Treatise on the Four Last Things. Translated by Patrick Cummins. Rockford, IL: Tan Books and Publishers, Inc., 1991.

Gasser, George. Personal Identity and Resurrection. Surry, England: Ashgate Publishing Limited, 2010.

Herzog, Friedrick (ed.). The Future of Hope: Theology as Eschatology. New York: Herder and Herder, 1970.

Hultgren, Arland J. “Eschatology in the New Testament: The Current Debate.” In The Last Things: Biblical and Theological Perspectives on Eschatology, edited by C. E. Braaten and R. W. Jenson, 67-89. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2002.

Kaiser, Walter C. Preaching and Teaching the Last Things: Old Testament Eschatology for the Life of the Church. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2011.

Levenson, Jon. Resurrection and the Restoration of Israel: The Ultimate Victory of the God of Life. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2008.

Moltmann, Jügen. The Coming of God: Christian Eschatology. Minneapolis: Fortress, 1996.

Pitre, Brant. Jesus, the Tribulation, and the End of the Exile: Restoration Eschatology and the Origin of the Atonement. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2006.

Ratzinger, Joseph. Eschatology: Death and Eternal Life. Translated by Michael Waldstein. Washington, DC: Catholic University of America Press, 1988.

Schwarz, Hans. Eschatology. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans, 2000.

Sim, David C. Apocalyptic Eschatology in the Gospel of Matthew. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996.

Wainwright, Geoffrey. Eucharist and Eschatology. Akron, OH: OSL Publications, 2002.

Winklhofer, Alois. The Coming of His Kingdom: A Theology of the Last Things. New York: Herder and Herder, 1963.

Woodbury, Austin. God as Consummating His Works or The Last Things. Unpublished work. Composed between 1964.

Scholarly Journal Article:

Congar, Yves M.J. Cardinal. “Church, Kingdom, and the Eschatological Temple.” Letter & Spirit 4 (2008): 289-318.