Charles Harold Dodd, C.H. Dodd, was a twentieth century New Testament scholar and theologian infamous for promoting, and creating the term, “realized eschatology.” This was an incredibly important contribution to the field of biblical studies because it was a completely new way to view eschatology. He also changed the way in which kerygma was studied and apostolic messages were thought of. Dodd, born in 1884 and died in 1973, “has been described as ‘the greatest and most influential British New Testament scholar of twentieth century’ and as one in whom ‘the international world of scholarship recognized…one of its most creative and influential minds’.” (Coggins and Houlden 1990, 179).
Dodd began studying theology at Mansfield College, Oxford around 1907 and was ordained to the Congregationalist ministry in 1912. In 1930 he became the Rylands Professor of Biblical Criticism and Exegesis at the University of Manchester. Dodd never received an official theological degree. He was the first Congregationalist minister to be a professor in Cambridge. While teaching at his different locations, Dodd researched and wrote several works that were never published. His first published works were on the subject of archaeology and numismatics. He wrote many infamous books, after his retirement at sixty-five, including The Meaning of Paul for Today, The Apostolic Preaching and Its Developments, and The Founder of Christianity.
Well-known for changing the way eschatology was viewed, Dodd introduced the term “realized eschatology” to the study of the New Testament. Eschatology focuses on the end of man and the events surrounding it. It is “the study of the four last things: death, judgement, heaven, and hell.” (Coggins and Houlden 1990, 200). Realized eschatology, Dodd’s idea, introduces the notion that the end of time has already come. Dodd helped to bring to light the idea that the bible and its eschatological teachings do not refer simply to the end as scholars had previously thought. “Jesus believed that the power of the kingdom of God was present in his own ministry; in other words eschatology was already realized.” (Craig 1937, 18). Jesus’ rebirth meant that eschatology was already realized and his teachings would endure through his disciples and followers. This meant that views on events such as the Rapture, the Second Coming, and Final Judgment may be seen as invalid because eschatology, the doctrine of the end of time, had already passed.
The Book of Revelation is the most commonly looked at piece of writing in terms of eschatological studies. Revelation is also known as the Apocalypse due to the fact that it focuses a lot on the end of the world. In this book of the New Testament, many apocalyptical messages and visions occur. There are several ways in which one may view the events in...