International Conference


End(s) of Time(s)

December 11-13, 2017


IKGF Seminar Room, Building D1
Hartmannstraße. 14,
91052 Erlangen

For millennia, mankind has imagined the end of time in various ways: ranging from scenarios of a definite finis mundi to the mere closure of a period, the idea of a transformation of society into "Heaven on Earth" (Richard Landes) has been characteristic of most apocalyptic movements. All of them are inextricably linked to the phenomenon of prophecy.

The conference will try to shed light on predictions related to millennialist thought and movements from a cross-cultural perspective. We will examine textual history (including commentarial history) as well as tangible attempts to make the prophecies come true in real life. What kinds of texts have been considered relevant in millennialism, and which exegetic strategies have been adopted for their interpretation? Is there a difference between having a long-term or a short-term perspective with regard to the impact of a given prediction? How do the agents of millennialism position themselves vis-à-vis the traditional claims or interpretations of a text?
In connection with the end of time, some civilizations have emphasized the notion of a judgment taking place, much like at a court of justice in the real world. As a result, numerous scenarios offer more or less detailed depictions of both the judgment and the "chosen" people. The conference will explore different views on judgment, salvation, and entry into timelessness or re-entry into normal time.

For more information, please contact Dr. Hans-Christian Lehner (


Poster Flyer


December 11, 2017

18:15 p. m. Welcome Address and Introduction
Michael Lackner (Chinese Studies, Director IKGF) and
Klaus Herbers (Medieval Studies, Deputy Director IKGF)
18:30 p. m. Keynote Lecture
Richard Landes (Medieval Studies, Boston University)

December 12, 2017

Panel I: Overviews of the End of Times in Different Eras and Areas
9:30 a. m. End of Times: Christian Perspectives on History, Eschatology, and Transcendence in the Latin Middle Ages
Klaus Herbers
10:00 a. m. Tibetan Buddhist Dystopian Narratives and their Pedagogical Dimension
Rolf Scheuermann (Tibetan Studies)
10:30 a. m. The Last Judgement in Sunni Exegesis: Temporal and Spatial Organisation, Procedural Aspects, and Personnel
Christian Lange (Islamic Studies)
11:00 a. m. Coffee Break
11:30 a. m. Discussion
Discussant: Michael Lackner
Panel II: The End of Times as Cultural Transfer, Heterodoxy, and Syncretism?
12:00 p. m. Competing Eschatological Scenarios during the Taiping War, 1851-1864
Vincent Goossaert (Chinese Studies)
12:30 p. m. Millenarianism in the Tibetan Dunhuang Manuscripts
Brandon Dotson (Tibetan Studies)
1:00 p. m. Lunch Break
2:00 p. m. Mohammed, Mahdi, Antichrist: Christians and Muslims in Joachim of Fiore's Apocalyptic Eschatology
Julia Eva Wannenmacher (Medieval Studies)
2:30 p. m. Discussion
Discussant: Johannes Fried (Medieval Studies)
Panel III: Practices, Rituals, and Figures of the End of Times
3:00 p. m. Steve Biko in One Hand, the Protocols in the Other - Murabitun Sufism in Black/African Areas of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
Matthias Gebauer (Geography and Islamic Studies)
3:30 p. m. Coffee Break
4:00 p. m. Eschatology and Messianism in Early Medieval China: The First Apocalypses
Christine Mollier (Chinese Studies)
4:30 p. m. The Infernal Trinity Does the Mole - Satan's Eschatological Activity in the Two Tracts De principe mundi and De semine scripturarum of the Anonymus Bambergensis
Matthias Kaup (Medieval Studies)
5:00 p. m. Discussion and Final Discussion of First Day
Discussant: Patrick Henriet (Medieval Studies)

December 13, 2017

Panel IV: Texts and Commentaries about the End of Times
9:30 a. m. Beatus of Liebana and the Spiritualized Understanding of Apocalypse in Medieval Iberia
Gaelle Bosseman (Medieval Studies)
10:00 a. m. The End of Time in Medieval Historiography
Hans-Christian Lehner (Medieval Studies)
10:30 a. m. Byzantine Calculations of the End of Times (CE 500, 800, ~1000, 1496)
Wolfram Brandes (Byzantine Studies)
11:00 a. m. Coffee Break
11:30 a. m. Making the Great Peace Up: Chinese Apocrypha in the First Two Centuries CE
Zhao Lu (Chinese Studies)
12:00 p. m. Discussion
Discussant: Matthias Maser (Medieval Studies)
12:30 p. m. Lunch Break
Panel V: The End of Times and Modernity
1:30 p. m. Facing the Modernity of the Others: Eschatological Fears for the Nation and the Race in China, 1895-1920
Rudolf Wagner (Chinese Studies)
2:00 p. m. The Final Struggle: The "Islamic State" and the Enacting of the End of Time
Jörn Thielmann (Islamic Studies)
2:30 p. m. Coffee Break
3:00 p. m. The Messianic Quest for the Earthly Paradise in the Modern World
Jürgen Gebhardt (Political Studies)
3:30 p. m. Discussion, Final Discussion, and Outlook
Discussant: Andreas Nehring (Religious Studies)

International Consortium for Research in the Humanities

"Fate, Freedom and Prognostication. Strategies for Coping with the Future in East Asia and Europe."

Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg
Hartmannstr. 14
91052 Erlangen
Telefon: +49 (0)9131 85 - 64340
Fax: +49 (0)9131 85 - 64360