Varieties of Apocalyptic Belief

Back to the topic of the nature of apocalyptic. I recently came across Cyril O'Regan's helpful discussion of Theology and the Spaces of Apocalyptic.  The following taxonomy is illuminating, I think. O'Regan identifies three kinds of apocalyptic theological discourse:

1. The Visionary or Pleromatic Form: in which the emphasis is on the nature of divine action and our place in the movement of history and its destination. The content of this visionary form of discourse is usually 'full' hence pleromatic i.e. there is a significant level of specificity in its account of the nature of God (triune, self-disclosing, self-sacrificial) and the biblical narrative (centred around the cross and resurrection).

2. The Interruptive or Kenomatic Form: here the emphasis falls on the notion of 'a complete interruption or tear in standard modes of knowing, practice, and form of life, without fully specifying the alternatives.' It is fundamentally critical of other discourses, but is in important senses empty, hence kenomatic. These forms are theological 'only by courtesy'.

3. The In-Between or Metaxic Form: I find the language of 'in-between'-ness helpful here. This form holds strongly to notions of the 'self-gift of the divine' but is hesitant about its own capacity to describe a God who transcends history, embraces the rhetoric of the new and is often suspicious of doctrine and institution.

The book itself is largely an exposition and critique of representatives from each 'form' with special attention paid to the pleromatic mode, which O'Regan himself prefers.  More from his conclusions on another occasion perhaps.