Imagining the Apocalypse

Radboud Reflects

The apocalypse, doomsday or Armageddon: the end of times has many names and faces. Whether it are world-ending natural disasters or earth-scattering wars between the forces of good and evil, the apocalypse is a recurring theme in various religions, and prominently features in many books, films and video games.

Why is the idea of the end of times so engrained in human societies? Come and listen to scholar of religion Seth Bledsoe who offers an overview of our understanding of the apocalypse from past to present.

The end of the world is a topic in many world religions, but the story we are most familiar with is that from the Bible book of Revelation. The famous images of the four horsemen, the seven plagues and the seven bowls of wrath have been a source of fear and fascination for people ever since. What is an apocalypse? How has it been understood in various ages? And why does it continue to fascinate us?

The conception of the apocalypse has changed over time. In early texts, doom was brought about by earthquakes and tsunamis, while in more contemporary interpretations the world is destroyed through a zombie invasion or by artificial intelligence gone rogue. Does apocalyptic imagination reflect societal fears and anxieties? Discussing rebellious angels, mythological monsters, Promethean Giants and, of course, general chaos, war and destruction, scholar of religion Seth Bledsoe shows how our understanding and perception of the apocalypse has changed over time.

After the lecture, Seth Bledsoe will make a contemporary turn. In the interview he will draw on apocalyptic imagination in video games like Horizon: Zero Dawn and Bioshock. Together we discuss how and why apocalyptic imagination still features prominently in our increasingly secular age.

This lecture is in English.

Seth Bledsoe is scholar of religion at Radboud University. His research examines the literary and socio-historical character of ancient Jewish and Christian literature, with particular attention to wisdom and narrative traditions. He also is interested in topics as the apocalypse, religion and violence, and the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Participation costs € 7,50. RU employees, Alumni Benefits Card-holders pay € 5,00. Students and pupils and Radboud Reflects-subscribers have free admittance.


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