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The process that would lead from this situation of bipolarity to the Augustinian doctrine of the two cities was complex and bound up with the interaction of multiple factors both internal and external to the life of the church. Of the latter, the confrontation of the apologists with the pagan world and the struggle against the gnostics appear decisive. The apologists’ contribution to the working out of the eschatological heritage can be identified in three orders of factors. First, the attempt to prove to the pagans the reasonableness of certain beliefs such as judgment or infernal punishment by seeking parallels in mythology betrays, beneath the recourse to the theory of theft, a universalizing tension. Second, in the thought of various apologists, in order to justify the concept of God as judge, Pretoria Map recourse was had to a natural theodicy that also became important for the parenetic and propagandistic aims of this type of literature. Third, as the case of Justin teaches us, in this way Christian thought was penetrated by categories of Greek thought, in this case Middle Platonic, which were destined to create viz. the resurrection of the dead important tensions and contradictions.

The second external factor is linked to the struggle against the gnostics. To the extent that they sought to adapt the Christian message to their mythology, the gnostics ended by attacking its hopes at decisive points. By systematically denying the reality of the incarnation, they threatened at its basis the fundamental dialectic between already and not yet. By rejecting the goodness of creation, they made faith in the resurrection of bodies impossible. Pretoria Map Finally, their doctrine of predestination, by guaranteeing salvation to a few pneumatics, eliminated free will and with it the necessity of judgment not by chance did Irenaeus and Tertullian argue at length against Marcion’s ditheism, which delegated the function of judge to the just God of the OT. Pretoria Map The reply of Irenaeus, then of Tertullian and Hippolytus, would aim to establish the nature, phases and telos of Christian redemption, inserting eschatological hope into a typical economy of salvation.

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