The Apocalyptic Horizon in Byzantium: Philosophy, Prophecy and Politics During the Eleventh Through Thirteenth Centuries

Thesis author: 
András Kraft
Year of enrollment: 
Duration of thesis project: 
Sep, 2011 - Dec, 2012
Thesis supervisor: 
István Perczel
Thesis abstract: 

This PhD research investigates Byzantine conceptions of time and eschatology. I approach this topic by focusing on two thematic clusters. On the one hand, I study the philosophical discussion of an eternal world, with particular attention attributed to the eleventh-century Byzantine philosopher John Italus and his circle. On the other hand, I investigate Pseudo-Danielic and Pseudo-Leonine apocalyptic prophecies from the Middle-Byzantine period by reassessing the manuscript tradition(s) and by establishing a coherent methodology of how to read Byzantine apocalypses.
I have chosen these two – potentially dissident – standpoints, the apocalyptic and the eternalist, in order to arrive at the mainstream Byzantine theology of time. That is to say, this research project rests on the presumption that one can best understand the normative by looking at the deviations.
In addition to the ultimate aim of reconstructing the fabric and the trajectories of the Byzantine theology of time, further outcomes of my research include: the discovery of new textual witnesses of well-known Byzantine prophecies, fresh attempts in their dating and interpretation as well as a new understanding of Christian Platonism in Byzantium, as it was exemplified by John Italus and his contemporaries.