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The Antichrist (German also: Widerchrist , Endchrist ) is a figure of the end times who is expected as an opponent and countervailing power of Jesus Christ before his return . The term comes from the New Testament , is only used in the Epistles of John , where it describes a person who appears “against the [God] anointed” ( Greek ἀντὶ Χριστοῦ, ὁ Ἀντίχριστος) and spreads false teachings about him. In the letters of John he does not stand for a specific person, but rather designates certain opponents of Christianity . In the history of Christianity, the term has been referred to and interpreted for many different people and powers of the present. Modern European cultural philosophy and literature have also dealt with it. It can be compared to the Jewish Armilus and the Islamic Jjjal .

Ancient Judaism

In the Tanakh the anti-Messiah as a term or person in the sense of an adversary whom God has to defeat to redeem the world is unknown and is rejected. In contrast to this, Deutero-Isaiah says ( Isa 45.7  EU ):

“I create the light and make the dark, I bring about salvation and create harm. I am the Lord who does it all. "

Exiled-post-exilic Judaism developed an end-time expectation influenced by Persian and Hellenistic ideas. In Isa 14.12ff  EU , the overthrow of a tyrant threatening Israel takes on cosmic dimensions. In view of the acute threat to Judaism, the Book of Daniel wrote about 164 BC. The Seleucids Antiochus IV. As blasphemer ( Dan 7.20  EU ) and overpowering foreign ruler ( Dan 8.9-14  EU ), whose attempts to destroy the Jewish religion, the final judgment over all antigodic world powers and the arrival of the man-like reigned kingdom of God would result ( Dan 7,2–14  EU ).

In this apocalyptic expectation, the evil that gains power in ever new systems of violence on earth and also destroys those who are loyal to their God is not made dualistic and independent and personified as an opposing God. None of the earthly kings is here associated with Satan , all of their destructive power is limited, all are only tools of the "time of wrath" ( Dan 8,19  EU ; Dan 11,36  EU ), which God decided until the " certain time ”( Dan 11.13  EU ) or the“ time of the end ”( Dan 11.40  EU ) has come. In Daniel's faith, nothing can stop God's coming to the Last Judgment and prevent him from breaking the line of death himself and raising all the righteous ( Dan 12: 2f  EU ).

In the Dead Sea Scrolls (200 BC – 70 AD), isolated (4QTest 21–30) two anti-Messianic figures who are in the service of Belial are expected. In the Syrian Baruch Apocalypse (syrBar 39.7; 40.1–3) the Messiah fights against a political adversary, the “last ruler” of the Roman Empire , until he kills him. Only after the canonization of the Tanakh (around 100) did Armilus appear in Jewish texts as a kind of anti-Messiah, whom the Messiah would defeat non-violently “by the breath of his mouth” (Isa 11: 4).

New Testament


The term “Anti-Christos” does not appear in the Gospels, but related expressions such as “false anointed ones” (Mk 13.6.21 par.), “False prophets”, “false teachers” (Mk 13.22 par .; 1 Joh 4,1; 2 Pet 2,1) or "false apostles" (2 Cor 11,13). This is how the early Christians described internal and external opponents of their faith. Jesus himself had predicted their appearance (synoptic apocalypse Mk 13.21ff  EU par.):

“If someone then says to you: Look, here is the Messiah! Or: Look, there he is !, don't believe it! For many a false messiah and many a false prophet will appear and they will do signs and wonders to, if possible, mislead the elect. But you watch out! I predicted everything for you. "

Like the ancient world, the early Christians judged these opponents in their ranks as people seduced and possessed by the devil or by demons , such as Judas Iscariot according to Lk 22.3 and John 13.2.27 (cf. Acts 20:30; 2 Cor 11: 3f; Jud 13). In this way they differentiated these opponents of Jesus Christ as human instruments of the devil from himself. The devil never becomes an antichrist, but Beliar (2 Cor 6:15), "the wicked one" (Mt 6:13; John 7:15; Eph 6:16 ; 1 Joh 2,13f; 3,12; 5,18), diabolos (Mt 4,1ff; Lk 4,1ff; Joh 8,44; Eph 4,27 et al.), Satan (Mt 4,10; 12.26; Mk 3.23; Lk 10.18; Acts 5.3; Rom 16.20 and so on) or “prince of / this world” (John 12.31; 14.30, 16.11 Mk 13.2; Eph 2.2). Each of these names designates the direct adversary of God to whom all demonic powers are subject, not a human adversary of Jesus Christ.

Church letters

The term is also missing in most of the church letters. 2 Thess 2: 1–12  EU does not speak of an antichrist, but of a lying “man of enmity of the law” and “son of perdition” who presents himself as God. At last Jesus would kill him with “the breath of his mouth”. Here, too, a false teacher is meant. The episode of Simon Magus in Acts 8: 9-13 illustrates the false teachings the early Christians had in mind.

The eschatological term anti-Christos was only found in the second generation of Christianity, who experienced stronger resistance to their faith. In the New Testament he appears only in the letters of John , five times.

1 Joh 2,18ff  EU : “My children, it is the last hour. You heard that the Antichrist is coming, and now many Antichrists have come. This is how we can tell that it is the last hour. "
1 Joh 2,22ff  EU : “Who is the liar - if not the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the Antichrist: whoever denies the Father and the Son. Anyone who denies that Jesus is the Son does not have the Father; whoever confesses that he is the Son also has the Father. The following applies to you: What you have heard from the beginning should remain in you; if what you have heard from the beginning remains in you, then you remain in the Son and in the Father. "

Accordingly, the term in the singular and plural denoted false teachers within the Christian communities who denied the messianship and divine sonship of Jesus and thus turned away from traditional apostolic teaching. The author confirms to you:

1 Jn 4 : 2–4  EU : “This is how you recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit who confesses that Jesus Christ came in the flesh is from God. And any spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. That is the spirit of the Antichrist that you heard was coming. Now he's already in the world. "
2 Jn EU : “Many deceivers have gone out into the world; they do not confess that Jesus Christ came in the flesh. That is the deceiver and the antichrist. "

Where and who the or those are who deny God's incarnation (John 1:14) in the mortal man Jesus, according to 1 John 4 : 5–8  EU, the aforementioned opponents show themselves: Since they are “out of the world”, they also spoke only from this one, and the world will listen to it. On the other hand: “But we are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us; he who is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we recognize the spirit of truth and the spirit of error. Dear brothers, let us love one another; for love is from God and everyone who loves comes from God and knows God. He who does not love has not known God; because God is love. "

Revelating of the Johannes

The Revelation of John was strongly influenced by Jewish apocalyptic, took numerous motifs from the Book of Daniel and interpreted them in a new context. It contrasts John's visions of “what you have seen: what is” (the visible), with “what will happen afterwards” (the hidden) ( Rev 1:19  EU ). The future is depicted in three cycles of seven visions each, which are introduced with the enthronement of the Lamb (v. 4): Jesus Christ as the Son of God given up on the cross for all human beings as the one God destined to rule the world and to whom he would Has entrusted execution of its history plan.

Chapters 12 to 14 depict the special situation of Christians in relation to the world ruled by powers hostile to God. Chapter 12 depicts the fight and overthrow of the dragon against the Son of God born of the woman with the result:

“He was overthrown, the great dragon, the old serpent called the devil or Satan and who deceived the whole world; the dragon was thrown to the earth and with him his angels were cast down. "

The prehistoric dragon known from Babylonian mythology is identified with Satan, who as a serpent seduces people into disobedience to God's command ( Gen 3: 1–5  EU ) or who tests their faith as an adversary ( Job 1, 6–12  EU ).

In Rev 13 : 1–18 EU , two animal figures  appear as opponents of the Lamb and his rule, which together with the aforementioned dragon form an antitrinity . The features of the first combine the features of the four animal figures from Dan 7, the biblical vision of the final judgment over all tyranny. It receives its power from the dragon - i.e. from Satan - and claims power against Christ. It resembles this down to the last detail: it has a head “like mortally wounded”, a wound that has, however, been healed. The people show him the divine honor, which in truth only belongs to the Lamb ( Rev 5,6  EU ). It blasphemes God and the saints.

The second beast resembles the lamb, but speaks like the dragon: It appears as a false prophet, who seduces the remainder of the Christian community to apostasy and to worship the first beast and uses a mark, the number six hundred and sixty-six . She was soon identified with the Antichrist named in the Letters of John.

The motifs clearly allude to the imperial cult in the Roman Empire , the refusal of which exposed the Christians to state persecution since Domitian around 90 . This, too, does not refer to specific persons, but to the deification of a political power that threatened Christians with annihilation and claimed what the believers expect from Jesus Christ: the ultimate turn for the good, the judgment of the world and the new creation. The Roman emperors thus became an overall political, not just internal church challenge.

In summary, it can be seen that the New Testament had not yet found a coherent concept for the figure of the eschatological antagonist. The various texts are based on different ideas: The author of the Epistles of John applies the term “Antichrist” to one or more opponents who have emerged from the community itself: He therefore uses it for an internal church polemic. Opposite this is Revelation, in which the “beast” (in the singular) has an anti-Roman thrust, and is therefore meant politically .

Church fathers

Patristic writings have dealt with the figure of the Antichrist since about the year 130, initially incidentally. They put forward many different theses about him and also referred to biblical passages that do not use the term Antichrist . Later teaching constructions attempted to present the motifs of these passages as a unified biblical concept of Antichrist. In doing so, they turned a minor character from the early Christian expectation of a parousia into a main character whose role was becoming more and more independent.

The Didache (16.3f) brought various NT passages into a sequence: In the last days, false prophets would appear, whom the world seducer would follow. He works miracles “like God's Son” and ruled the earth with sacrilege. The Sibyllines (Sib 2,165-168) combined Beliar with the eschatological lie prophets of Mk 13. According to Isaiah's martyrdoms , Beliar was supposed to incarnate in the form of Emperor Nero . This linked Judeo-Christian motifs with the independently developed Roman legend of the rebirth of Nero ( Nero redivivus ).

Irenaeus of Lyon (c. 135–202) contrasted the Antichrist as the end-time embodiment of Lucifer with Jesus Christ as the new Adam . In doing so he gave him a firm place in salvation history . He saw in the Gnostic Markos a forerunner of the Antichrist in the retinue of Simon Magus. The pseudo-clementines equated this with the Antichrist.

Hippolytus of Rome (approx. 170–235) was the first church father to dedicate his own writing to the Antichrist , which referred to Old Testament passages to give him more concrete features and more meaning: he would ape Christ as a lion, king and lamb, like him Send out apostles, gather the scattered, give them a seal and descend from one of the Twelve Tribes of Israel : but not from the tribe of Judah , but Dan , whom Irenaeus connected with the serpent of Paradise . In the Tanakh he thus transferred properties related to the adversary (Satan) to the Antichrist. In doing so, he may have resorted to parallel texts by rabbis . This is where the common identification of Antichrist and Judaism began in the Middle Ages .

Other theologians continued to tie in with Revelation 13 until the Constantinian Turn in 313 and appointed various Roman emperors - a. a. Titus , Nero, Domitian, Decius - the same as the Antichrist. An apocryphal pseudoepigraphs ascribed to the Sibylle of Tibur also connected Constantine I with the end times around 380 and took up Hippolyt’s thesis: At that time the prince of hardness, who will be called the Antichrist, will appear from the tribe of Dan.

Augustine of Hippo harmonized in 420 the various Bible texts related to the Antichrist and their Christian interpretations ( De Civitate Dei, Chapter 20). He rejected a millennial kingdom , but believed that there would be persecution of Christians before Christ's return, which the Antichrist would call forth and lead. He also took up the seven hermeneutical rules of the Donatist Tyconius ( De doctrina Christiana III, chapters 21-27): The second of these rules described the church as an ambivalent corpus permixtum , the seventh described an opposing church led by the devil ( de diabolo et eius corpore ) . Augustine emphasized that this cannot be separated from the church, but protrudes into it. With that he transferred the work of the Antichrist from the end times to his own present. Now the Antichrist idea could be applied to all sorts of groups within the church and used to exclude them from it. At the same time, it could be connected to groups that appeared or were perceived as external enemies of the church. The Apocalypse of the Pseudo-Methodius of Patara, for example, saw the Islamic conquerors of the 7th century as tools of the Antichrist.

middle Ages

In the internal and external crises of medieval society, end-time expectation had an important function of collective self-assurance and the demarcation of what was unconditionally rejected. The strong significance of the antichrist ideas is not explained for purely propaganda purposes, but rather from the religious, pre-rational worldview of the epoch at that time.

Adsos Compendium

Around 950, Adso von Montier-en-Der wrote the Compendium Libellus de ortu et tempore Antichristi (“Little Book of the Origin and Time of the Antichrist”) on behalf of the West Franconian Queen Gerberga . In it, for the first time, he included all available documents from the early church and surrounding motifs on the topic in an overall picture that was as consistent as possible in the form of a curriculum vitae with 15 stations:

The Antichrist is not born of a virgin like Christ , but is descended from Jews from the tribe of Dan. The devil was involved in his conception as an incubus . The Antichrist was born in Babylon and grew up in Bethsaida and Chorazin - two of those Galilean cities to which Jesus announced the judgment of God - where they were raised by sorcerers and false prophets and swarmed by demons . He will rebuild the Jerusalem temple , be circumcised and proclaimed the Son of God. From there he would his world domination with horror ( terror ), bribery raise and miracles. He would send his messengers everywhere, convert kings and their peoples to himself and at the same time destroy the places where Jesus worked. He would murder resisting Christians. Only the power of the Frankish empire held him back until finally the last Frankish emperor laid down scepter and crown in Jerusalem . Then let his power burst out. Three and a half years earlier, the born again biblical prophets Enoch and Elijah would warn believers about him; then he would kill them and persecute the Christians for another three and a half years. The Jews and almost everyone else would recognize him as their Messiah; his followers wear a mark on their foreheads. Then Christ or the Archangel Michael would appear and destroy him on the Mount of Olives . The apostate Christians then had 40 days to repent before the final judgment.


Adso's work was handed down together with works by Alkuin , Hrabanus Maurus and Augustine and thus became the basis for theological speculations about the Antichrist for centuries. Scholastics discussed its origins, its relationship to the devil, whether he had a guardian angel like everyone else, whether he could do real or only apparent miracles, and other things.

Hugo of Strasbourg took Adso's description into his Compendium theologicae veritatis (around 1270) and gave it almost canonical status. Rupert von Deutz divided human history into seven epochs, each of which was confronted with a different realm of the Antichrist. He gave it universal historical significance. Otto von Freising found the Antichrist in three epochs: as a persecutor of Christians during the Roman Empire, as a seducer through ancient church heresies and as a hypocrite who secularized and corrupted the church of his presence. The following fourth epoch will unite and increase all three forms of antichristism. This started the critical interpretation of the figure.

High Middle Ages

In the High Middle Ages , looking for traces of the Antichrist in one's own presence became a public matter. Identifying one's opponent as “Antichrist” became a means of struggle in power struggles of various interest groups: for example between the Roman Church and minorities persecuted as heretics, between the Empire and the Papacy or between Popes and counter- popes .

This is how the supporters of Pope Gregory VII called the antipope Clement III. as "messengers of Satan and lackeys of the Antichrist". Also, Richard the Lionheart and Joachim of Fiore Clemens designated III. as an antichrist.

Gerhoh von Reichersberg saw the work of the Antichrist, on the other hand, in the internal church schism of 1159 itself, not one of his parties, but in the clergy's simony and greed and glory . He described Emperor Heinrich IV with features of Antiochus IV, but without calling him Antichrist. The Ludus de Antichristo, on the other hand, as a drama of the powerful final emperor and the world domination of the Antichrist, was friendly to the emperor.

In 1239, Emperor Friedrich II and Pope Gregory IX named themselves . each other as antichrist. The Spirituals held in this dispute first the emperor for the Antichrist, with his fall dawn, the age of the Spirit. They predicted this for the year 1260. When the deadline passed and the church did not recognize their way of life, they proclaimed the Pope an antichrist who opposed the renewal of the Holy Spirit .

Johann Militsch and his pupil Matthias von Janow , reform preacher in Prague , dated the beginning of the end times to 1367 and saw in Emperor Charles IV the "great" Antichrist who also had many followers and forerunners in the church. They called on Pope Urban V to eliminate anti-Christian immorality and disorder in the church.

The Italian Dominican and penitential preacher Savonarola called for a council to Alexander VI. , whom he considered to be the Antichrist.

Antichrist pictures and games

Image 1: Antichrist with the attributes of a king in the Hortus Deliciarum (around 1180)

Before the invention of the printing press, Antichrist motifs were usually embellished in legends of popular piety and conveyed in pictures, sculptures and stage dramas such as the Passion and Mardi Gras (Fig. 1). In some illustrations, the Antichrist and his followers had a "T" in place of the cross . Its representation in one of three multi-part windows of the Marienkirche Frankfurt (Oder) is unique (Fig. 2).

Image 2: fifth motif in the Antichrist window, the Antichrist and his followers, glass painting Frankfurt (Oder) around 1367

Many popular antichrist games made use of the motifs and stations from Adso's book, such as the Tegernsee Ludus de Antichristo (created between 1178 and 1186). It depicts the gaining of world domination by the emperor, its return to God, the emergence, rulership and overthrow of the Antichrist and the return of all people into the bosom of the Church. The Antichrist emerges from this church itself and wins the hypocrites, not the Jews , as the first trailer. In 1304 a similar game was performed in Cividale .

The Des Entkrist Vasnacht , created around 1353 in the Zurich area , shows the Jews on the line of Adso as the first supporters of the Antichrist, who also pull the Christians to his side. The Corpus Christi play of Künzelsau is the Antichrist, although born of a wicked woman in Babylon, but not as a Jew, the son of the devil. Here too, however, these are his first followers and appeal to him to take revenge for the pain he has suffered on Christians: He should torture them just as cruelly as Christ. Then they would worship him out of fear of death. The Frankfurt Jews had to during the performance of such games include 1468 and 1469 on the orders of the mayor in their homes so as not to be victims of the incited people.

In burlesques , the Antichrist usually only appeared briefly and wore strongly typified features with a high recognition value. His life was hardly told, which was not necessary for the intention to get the audience to agree. He was also rarely associated with the end times and the devil. This happened all the more intensely in the pamphlets, illustrated books and block books of the 15th and 16th centuries. They reflect the renewed spread of chiliasm in the population. With him was often a deep hatred of the Jews.

An early block book (around 1450) already depicts the life and deeds of the Antichrist in an annotated sequence of pictures with unusual details:

  • Jacob prophesies the birth of the Antichrist to his son Dan.
  • One of his offspring sleeps with his own daughter. She receives the Antichrist through the "power of the devil".
  • The Antichrist is circumcised.
  • The Jews are rebuilding the temple.
  • The Antichrist and his ambassadors preach worldwide, also in India, to the "Queen of Amason" (the Amazons ) and the " red Jews " whom Alexander the Great had expelled into the "pirated Caspie" (the Caucasus ).
  • The Antichrist raises knights in full armor from eggs and calls unclean peoples of perdition, Gog and Magog , to subjugate all. Their appearance resembles the "red Jews".

Jews were already equated with conquerors from the Far East: Even the Mongols , who invaded Silesia , were considered the descendants of lost Jewish tribes. The local Jews were said to have welcomed and supported them happily. These clichés took hold in people's imaginations and were often activated in the age of the Turkish wars. Alleged red or black Jewish armies were sometimes seen as allies of Christians against Muslims.

In 1491, the Nuremberg master- singer Hans Folz wrote A Spil from the Duke of Burgundy . This is where the “end Christian” interprets his name: Really, that's bad from the fact that I am one of the Christians . His world domination would result in the rule of the Jews over the Christians. In the course of the drama he is exposed as a Jew, in which he confesses to the most heinous crimes against Christianity. The victims of the pogroms were portrayed as vengeful monsters and criminals in order to suppress their own guilt and to justify new persecution.


John Wyclif , a trained scholastic, intensified the widespread criticism of the Catholic clergy in his pamphlet De Christo et adversario suo Antichristo (around 1367) on a comprehensive criticism of the papacy. He compared Jesus Christ, as the New Testament testifies to him, in twelve points with the Pope's way of life: Jesus' truth, poverty, humility, powerful legislation, active support as an itinerant preacher, flight from the world, loyalty to worldly power, closeness to the common people, non-violence, undemanding , Condescension and frugality in suffering reveal lies, covetousness, arrogance, illegal flood of law, inactivity, love of the world, urge to conquer, closeness to the mighty and great, lust for war, excessive legal claims, display of splendor and glory of the popes. So he found only anti-Christian traits in the entire church hierarchy. When another papal schism occurred in 1378, the age of the Antichrist began for Wyclif, as Arnaldus de Villanova had predicted for that year.

Such series of antitheses were now more often printed and distributed in national languages ​​in order to fight papal power in literary terms. Jan Hus adopted Wyclif's teaching that every Pope and the entire Catholic Church embodies the Antichrist. Jakobellus von Mies , representative of Utraquism , designated Pope John XXIII in 1412 . publicly as an antichrist.

Early modern age

Martin Luther

Martin Luther changed the medieval image of the Antichrist permanently by allowing the Word of God incarnated in Jesus Christ to be the only standard for Christian life. God's grace , not an ideal of poverty, required fundamental criticism of the church for him, since it contradicted its role as a sanctuary. The scriptural principle ( sola scriptura ) invalidated large parts of the church tradition, including antichrist legends such as that of Adso.

Luther knew this, but later only took from it motifs that matched his theologically based polemics against the papacy. Only in the course of the Reformation did he equate it with the Antichrist. Since the dispute over indulgences , he saw the jurists and theologians of the Curia , not the Pope himself, as representatives and forerunners of the Antichrist. In preparing for the Leipzig disputation , he recognized the contradiction between the Bible and canon law . In particular, the popes' claim to have a final interpretation aroused his suspicion that they might be the Antichrist. At first he only expressed this in private, hypothetical and conditionally (as in his Operationes in psalmos ). Then he read Laurentius Valla's work De donatione Constantini , which uncovered the Donation of Constantine as a forgery intended to preserve papal power. Since mid-1520 he was convinced that the papacy was the antichrist. Since his writing Adversus execrabilem Antichristi bullam , with which he justified his burning of the papal ban bull , he represented this publicly and remained there until the end of his life.

Luther named as characteristics of the anti-Christian nature of the papacy: the pope placed his authority over God's word, made himself ruler of the church against and instead of Jesus Christ, also claimed world domination over emperors and kings, tyrannized the consciences of believers with countless arbitrary, scriptural laws : including celibacy , compulsion to confess , withdrawal of the lay chalice at the Lord's Supper , above all its interpretation as a sacrifice. For non-compliance with these laws he threatens Christians with eternal salvation, so rule with fear instead of love. Luther later highlighted the blending of secular and spiritual power as a further characteristic: this inevitably resulted in insatiable greed and corruption of the clergy. In the Pope, the devil is fighting and destroying the three classes of government , church and family house, through which God wants to preserve his good creation .

Since 1529 Luther saw the devil at work in the Turkish ruler . Melanchthon consequently described this as secular alongside the spiritual antichrist. For Luther, the Pope remained the real antichrist, since only he was Christ's adversary in the church.

Unlike earlier authors, Luther did not precisely set the beginning of the antichrist age. In view of the sacrificial mass it began for him with Gregory I , in view of the primacy claim 606 with Phocas , in view of the striving for world domination after the death of Charlemagne , but mostly since Gregory VII and Boniface VIII. He often spoke of a four-hundred-year antichrist rule that arose with canon law and scholasticism.

Luther saw his presence as the last epoch in which the antichrist, who had secretly ruled for a long time, was revealed. Many would have recognized and attacked him earlier, but only the gospel of God's free grace hits him decisively. With this the final battle began, in which Christ would defeat the Antichrist - he therefore sometimes called him the final Christian - only with the breath (spirit) of his mouth. This should therefore always only be fought with the sermon , never with violence. Only the second coming of Christ will finally destroy him. Luther referred to passages in the Bible such as 1 Tim 4,1–3  LUT ; 2 Petr 2,1-3  LUT and 2 Thess 2,8  LUT . Luther saw the preliminary fight against the papacy with the weapon of the gospel as his life's work, especially in the years 1527, 1537 and 1545, when he felt near death.

Reformation time

Since 1520, many pamphlets, pictures and dramas spread Luther's conception of the papacy as an Antichrist and quickly displaced Adso's legend in the areas that had become evangelical. Catechisms and formulas contrasted Christ and Pope as exclusive opposites, such as the Decalogus divinus et papisticus .

Leaflets such as the New Karsthans emphasized the difference between Adsos and Luther's antichrist image and always assigned the latter with 2 Thess 2. The main characteristics of the papal antichrist they mentioned that he suppressed God's word and established many human doctrines and laws that were not based on it. Here, too, the information about when the papal Antichrist had ruled differed considerably. The popular letters from the devil also emphasized its satanic origin in the form of satires . In any case, his end is near, since Luther discovered him and decisively weakened him.

Image by Lucas Cranach the Elder J., 1545

Lucas Cranach the Elder published the Passional of Christ and Antichrist in 1521 : a series of 13 pairs of images, which contrasted Christ and Antichrist, with references from the Bible. In 1545, Cranach's Illustration of the Papacy , a collection of drastic caricatures with explanatory texts by Luther, appeared. Simon Rosarius created such an antithetical series of images around 1590.

The Protestant stage dramas no longer emphasized the life of the Antichrist, but rather his characteristics. In doing so, they tied in with the medieval carnival and morality games instead of the mystery games . Among the authors were Pamphilus Gengenbach , Niklaus Manuel , Hans von Rüte and Johannes Agricola . Probably the most famous Protestant antichrist drama Pamachius comes from Thomas Naogeorg .

Lutheran theologians rarely wrote their own writings on the Antichrist. Only Andreas Osiander discussed it in detail in 1524 in a treatise for the National Council in Speyer, which never came into being . In Luther's Schmalkaldic Articles of 1537 it was stated:

"Therefore, just as little as we can worship the devil himself as a lord or god, just as little can we suffer his apostle, the pope or end Christian, in his regiment as head or lord."

Melanchthon had already referred to the Pope as an Antichrist in his apology in the Confessio Augustana in 1535 . How it can be recognized, explained his Tractatus de potestate et primatu Papae 1537. Many theologians signed this text, so that it is considered a Protestant consensus.

Also Huldrych Zwingli , Heinrich Bullinger , Theodore Bibliander , Johannes Oecolampadius , Martin Bucer ( De regno Christi ) and John Calvin followed Luther's equation of the papacy and the antichrist. Various Reformation creeds took this up. In England took John Foxe Luther's view with his Acts and Monuments in Scotland John Knox . Edward VI. and Elizabeth I used it to justify their wars against Catholic powers.

After Luther's death in 1546 and the Augsburg Interim in 1548, Lutherans carried out his antichrist concept exegetically, dogmatically and in terms of church history. In 1556 Matthias Flacius Illyricus listed 400 witnesses against the errors and rage of the Roman Antichrist in his Catalogus testium veritatis . The Magdeburg Centuries tried to prove the emergence, growth, abundance of power and exposure of the Antichrist in church history and interpreted church history as a battlefield between the true and the false church.

Michael Stiefel and Andreas Osiander tried to derive the beginning of the Antichrist epoch from Bible passages. They referred to a prophecy ascribed to the prophet Elijah , but actually from the Talmud , according to which the age of the world is 6,000 years and is divided into three epochs of equal length. The rule of the Antichrist begins in the third epoch and lasts for 1260 years. Nikolaus von Amsdorf , Johann Funk , Raphael Egli , Adam Nachenmoser and Nikolaus Selnecker even calculated the date of the end of the world on this basis. Investigations on this have also been published by Georg Sohn , Johann Friedrich Coelestin , Philipp Nicolai , Georg Nigrinus , Johann Heinrich Alstedt and Johannes de Hyperiis . They had titles like Pantheum sive anatomia et symphonia paptus , De duobus antichristis primariis , Antichrist's thorough revelation .

Internal Protestant conflicts

When Luther shifted the image of the Antichrist from a future individual, recognizable by biographical characteristics, to a present and supra-individual power that was active in church history, the term could also be related to negatively assessed tendencies in Protestantism itself. Luther avoided rhetorical antichrist polemics in his own camp. But Luther's students who sought more radical ecclesiastical and political reforms began to bring him closer to the Pope since his demarcation from them.

Andreas Karlstadt called Luther "the last Christian's cousin" when he publicly rejected his understanding of the Lord's Supper. Thomas Müntzer described him as an anti-Christian after he had called on the Elector of Saxony to intervene against the reforms in Allstedt . Müntzer attacked Luther's doctrine of the two kingdoms and the view that the antichrist - for Müntzer the medieval feudal order - could only be destroyed without violence. For Anabaptists like Hans Hut and Bernd Rothmann , the Lutherans were also anti-Christian because they rejected adult baptism , broke off the Reformation prematurely and allied themselves again with secular powers. Sebastian Franck found, in addition to the external papal one, a far more dangerous, internal antichrist who “sits in the middle of Scripture” instead of interpreting it from his own experience of God. These directions shared the belief in the “inner light” which is what makes the right understanding of Scripture possible.

Since Luther's break with the " enthusiasts ", it has become common to use the term alongside the pope as well as internal evangelical opponents: This is how Lutherans called the " adiaphorists " in the dispute over the interim of 1548 as "antichrist (lich)". The Gnesiolutherans, on the other hand, contradicted followers of Melanchthon, who taught a double, secular and spiritual Antichrist - Turk and Pope. In the last supper dispute with the Reformed Lutherans also counted John Calvin as a three-headed Antichrist alongside the Pope (Catholicism) and a Turk (Islam). The anti-Trinitarian Johannes Erasmi argued with 1 Jn 4,1-3  EU and counted all who represented the doctrine of the Trinity to the camp of the Antichrist.


Catholic theologians initially rejected Luther's equation of papacy and antichrist as a heresy or as an innovation not covered by apostles and church fathers ( novitas ), but hardly tried to refute it exegetically. Johannes Eck , Johannes Cochläus , Johann Fabri and others referred to Luther's agreement with John Wyclif and Jan Hus and to passages like 2 Thess 2: 3f: According to this, the Antichrist must be an individual. According to Dan 7.25 and Dan 12.7.11 he could only rule for three and a half years.

That is why they did not call the reformers “Antichrist”, but “Antichristus mixtus”, that is, the forerunner of the “Antichristus purus” with anti-Christian features, which only appeared in the end times. Others interpreted the number 666 as a code for the name "Luther" and related Adso's birth characteristics of the Antichrist to his origin. Few, like Francisco Suárez, dared cautiously to criticize Adso's legend by quoting dissenting statements from church fathers.

It was not until Jesuits like Francisco Ribeira , Blasius Viegas , Cornelius a Lapide established a detailed Catholic counter-position: They related the authoritative Bible texts to purely future end-time events. Luis de Alcazar, on the other hand, understood them as prophecies that had come before Constantine I. The Jesuits also noted the absence of the Antichrist in the Confessio Augustana and concluded from this: Anyone who regards the Pope as an Antichrist is breaking the religious peace in Augsburg . Because he is also attacking the emperor, who recognizes the Pope as Lord of Christendom. This is a state crime ( crimen laesae majestatis ).

Protestants had problems with this line of argument up to around 1800. Lutherans like Benedikt Carpzov , Johann Gerhard and Reformed people like Philipp van Limborch tried to refute them. The treatises by Robert Bellarmin ( Disputationes ) and Leonhard Lessius on this subject in particular aroused opposition from Protestant theologians: Thomas Brightman wrote a refutatio Bellarmini under the title Apocalypsis Apocalypseos , Lancelot Andrewes wrote a Responsio ad Apologiam Bellarmini . Even Nicolas Vignier , Daniel Chamier , Jacques Cappel in French and Georg Nigrinus and David Pareus published on the German side works against Bellarmine.

Despite increasing theological distance from Adso's legend, the tradition of antichrist dramas continued in the Catholic area. Zacharias Bletz created the Lucerne Antichrist , Steffano Tucci the Christ Iudex , Michael Hildebrand the Ecclesia Militans . Thomas Malvanda took up Adso's legend, the Capuchin Dionysius von Lützenburg expanded it into the grotesque . Such popular stage works lasted into the 19th century.


In the 16th and 17th centuries, humanists sometimes took a compromise position between denominations. Hieronymus Zanchi combined the catholic and evangelical view: after the popes a personal antichrist could appear and rule for three and a half years. Johannes Marbach protested against this in 1561.

Hugo Grotius followed in 1640 as the anonymous author of the Commentatio ad loca quaedum […] quae de Antichristo agunt Alcazar's interpretation of the apocalypses, as did Henry Hammond . Both were then sharply attacked as deviants from the evangelical consensus, for example by Pierre du Moulin , Samuel Maresius , Johannes Coccejus , and later by Abraham Calov and Philipp van Limborch.

Confessional Wars

In England, the Anglican Church adhered to the episcopal constitution and liturgical traditions. It was increasingly criticized by the Puritans in the 17th century , nourished by the apocalyptic writings of Thomas Brightman , Joseph Mede , John Napier, and Arthur Dent. After King Charles I and Archbishop William Laud brought the forms of worship even closer to the Catholic tradition, the Puritans saw the Antichrist in the Anglican state church, whom they fought in the civil war (1642–1649). Laud confessed to Bellarmin's exegetical position and then lost his office.

When Oliver Cromwell upheld the state constitution, he became an antichrist to former allies like John Canne , John Rogers , Christopher Feake , the Quintomonarchists, Levellers, and Diggers . Some Quakers rejected every constitutional church and every order of worship. They did not find the Antichrist in certain opposing denominations, but in the heart of every Christian who was guided by material standards. They justified this with 2 Thess 2,4 and 1 Cor 3,17.

Under the renewed government of the Stuarts , the antichrist polemics quickly disappeared from the English public: partly because of censorship , partly because of disappointed end-time hopes and the excessive mutual demonization of other Christians. Under James II the Anglican Church no longer taught that the papacy was the Antichrist, also because Catholic powers did not threaten England's independence at the time.

In continental Europe during the Thirty Years War , all camps continued the antichrist polemics of the Reformation period. In Germany, there was also criticism of the sovereign church regime: sovereigns who forced their subjects to accept their denomination ( cuius regio, eius religio ), on the other hand hardly examined the orthodoxy of the clergy, were seen by many free churches , but also by some Orthodox Lutherans, as the new disguise of the Antichrist. They called such princely governed regional churches Caesaropapie in contrast to the Papacaesarie of the papacy, often accompanied by biblical metaphors such as “Babel”, “Whore” or “The Beast”. Johann Valentin Andreae called such princes Antichrist politicus . Joachim Betke related this polemic to the vocation right of the authorities, i.e. the state appointment of church leaders, and the lack of church discipline .

In France, following Pierre Iurieu, especially since the Edict of Fontainebleau in 1685 , the Huguenots believed that their persecution at that time was a sign of the near end times prophesied in the Bible and that their persecutor Louis XIV was the Antichrist. The Russian Orthodox Christians interpreted their persecution under Peter the Great in a similar way .

Modern times


From around 1650 onwards, the idea of ​​an institutional rule of the Antichrist that determined one's own presence before the end of the world withdrew in favor of an individualistic theology that emphasized the religious struggle of the individual and thus relativized the denominational differences. With reference to Jakob Böhme , many theologians found in the merely baptized named Christians the anti-Christian, for whose growth they blamed the Lutheran doctrine of justification . Gottfried Arnold represented this view in his church and heretic history .

This prepared pietism . Its representative Philipp Jakob Spener still found the "big" Antichrist in the papacy, but he put the "little" Antichrist in his own Evangelical Church, who threatens every Christian, by his side. Theologians of the revival movement such as Joachim Lange , Johann Albrecht Bengel , Christoph Oetinger and others. a. drew a picture of salvation history in which the antichrist reappeared as a purely future figure, whose commencement and duration of rule could not be determined: for example in the Berleburg Bible . Here, too, the papacy remained its institutionalized precursor.


Inspired by the scientific empiricism and rationalism began in the Age of Enlightenment , the historical-critical biblical scholarship . She gradually questioned the authors of most of the biblical books, their literary unity, biblical dates and the religious-historical peculiarity of apocalyptic motifs. So she denied the existence of an eschatological antichrist, or at least the possibility of its identification in the present.

At the same time, enlightened thinkers also adopted the term and interpreted it as a symbol condensed into a person of an anonymous, supra-individual power of the negative and immoral. For example, Francis Bacon referred the traditional interpretation of John 5:43  EU as a general prediction of the Antichrist to Aristotle , in order to criticize his metaphysics as a selfish desire for spiritual tyranny , which inspired Alexander the great .

For Immanuel Kant , biblical content retained its relevance for promoting morality . The philosophers would have to interpret the Bible "doctrinally" with regard to the moral principles it contains ( dispute between the faculties ). That is why he emphasized:

"The appearance of the Antichrist, the Chiliasm, the announcement of the nearness of the end of the world can assume their good symbolic meaning before reason."

He interpreted the Antichrist as a symbol for the rule of immorality and unreason.

Most of the Enlightenment philosophers did not distinguish the Antichrist from the devil, but rather related and criticized the two terms interchangeably. Eighteenth-century skeptics cited the devil as an example of the absurdity of Christian beliefs. Jean-Jacques Rousseau saw in him a "grotesque superstition" and a "nauseating fantasy".


The Trial of Job : Satan Pours the Plagues on Job ( William Blake )

In romanticism there was an increased preoccupation with the problem of "evil" and the figure of the devil compared to the Enlightenment. This was mainly reflected in the literature, e.g. B. by William Blake , Lord Byron , Percy Bysshe Shelley , Edgar Allan Poe , Éliphas Lévi and others. This often led to a reinterpretation of the roles and attributed properties of "good" and "bad" as well as Satan and Jesus Christ. So Satan has often been reinterpreted as a positive power, a rebel and a symbol of resistance to tyranny and a socially progressive force. In Blake's The Marriage of Heaven and Hell , for example, Satan becomes the bringer of freedom against a judging God and Jesus himself "satanic". In contrast, he calls the institutionalized and, in his view, mainly external ceremonies, perverted form of Christianity the Antichrist. So he writes:

"The outward Ceremony is Antichrist."

With Pierre-Joseph Proudhon , the antichrist becomes a political symbol and revolutionary bringer of freedom. Thus Proudhon writes in Justice in the Revolution and the Church:

“Freedom is your antichrist. O come, Satan, you who have been slandered by the priests and kings ... [...] Your works, O you blessed one of my heart, are not always beautiful and good; but you alone give the universe a meaning. "


The figure of the antichrist played a major role in dispensationalism , a premillenarian doctrine developed in the 19th century by the English preacher John Nelson Darby , which is now taught in many evangelical churches in the United States . According to this, the end times will be marked by a great tribulation of seven years, which will begin after the rapture of the true believers. It is characterized by violence, oppression and terror. At its height after three and a half years, the Antichrist would establish a worldwide dictatorship , which would be ended after another three and a half years by the parousia of Christ and his victory in the battle of Armageddon .


Since the French Revolution , anti-Semitic conspiracy theories emerged , which again related the Antichrist to alleged world Jewry and its alleged evil plans against humanity, especially Christians. When Napoleon convened leading representatives of the Jews, the Sanhedrin , in 1806 to confer with them, everyone who saw him as the Antichrist was confirmed: the supporters of the overthrown Bourbon monarchy as well as the Orthodox Church of Russia. Their Moscow Patriarch wrote:

“To the greater shame of the Church of Christ, he reassembled the Jewish synagogue in France and restored the great Sanhedrin , the same nefarious assembly that had once dared to condemn our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, to death on the cross, and now it is based on it is to reunite the Judeans, who were scattered over the whole face of the earth by the wrath of God, in order to induce them to overthrow the Church of Christ and to proclaim a false messiah in the person of Napoleon. "

In the 20th century, the Antichrist was rarely drawn with anti-Semitic features. The right-wing American preacher Gerald Winrod predicted in 1936 that the Jewish Antichrist would make use of an international Jewish system of rule that already existed: “Jewish money power”. In 1999, fundamentalist TV preacher Jerry Falwell declared that the Antichrist was already alive and was a Jew; He did not want this statement to be understood as anti-Semitic.

Culture philosophy

The two title pages of Nietzsche's manuscript: first the first book of the revaluation , then the “curse” standing on its own.

In his book Der Antichrist , Friedrich Nietzsche criticized Christianity in principle: He described it as “the one immortal blot of humanity”, which degrades all positive self-confidence by being chained to morality and feelings of guilt and prevents it from developing freely. He himself took on the role of counterpart in literary terms. Some traditional Christian readers interpret this criticism as a glorification of the Antichrist type in a new form and trace it back to the psychology of the author, who had a certain form of Christianity in mind in the empire and in his parents' home.

In the Nietzsche tradition, people have repeatedly referred to themselves as “antichrists” when they rebel against or despise the predominance of Christianity. This phenomenon occurred in the 20th century in statements by the thelemite Aleister Crowley and in “modern” Satanism by Anton Szandor LaVey . Some Islamists also refer to themselves as antichrists when they criticize the supposed supremacy of Christian religions and Christian infiltration in offices and management positions.

Looking at the totalitarian world views of the 20th century, the Antichrist was identified in both Christian and secular literature in Hitler , Lenin and Stalin, among others . In Romania , the news anchor said in 1989 after the execution of the fallen dictator Ceaușescu : "What a Christmas - the Antichrist is dead!"

The Swedish writer Selma Lagerlöf gave a different interpretation of the term “antichrist” in her novel The Miracles of the Antichrist : The antichrist here is socialism , which, like Christianity , wants to help people, but in contrast to Christianity “only from this world “Is. Christ and Antichrist must be reconciled to one another.


Between 1914 and 1918, the German, Anglo-Saxon and Russian sides demonized the other as an antichrist. Before and after the First World War , the concept of the Antichrist was also used for the purpose of anti-socialist and anti-communist propaganda. Sergei Nilus saw socialism in his 1901 book The Great in Small (subtitle: The approaching antichrist and the kingdom of the devil on earth is near ) as the embodiment of the antichrist. In the second edition of 1905 the book was published with the anti-Semitically motivated forgery Protocols of the Elders of Zion in the appendix.

time of the nationalsocialism

The image of the Antichrist gained increasing importance in ideology, political debate and literature during the Nazi era . It was also frequently used in the discussion immediately after 1945.

The regime

The ideology of National Socialism and many of its protagonists was shaped to a not inconsiderable degree by a premodern, irrational, semi-religious, apocalyptic view of the world and history. In this end-time scenario, the Jewish people were assigned the role of "absolute evil." It tries to achieve its negative goals through all sorts of activities such as conspiracies, deception, disguise and alliances with other directions such as Bolshevism . The upright and resolute fighting “forces of light” in the form of Aryans and National Socialism stand in the way of this. The annihilation of the "Jew" thus became a precondition for the redemption of the Aryan man. Claus-Ekkehard Bärsch writes about Joseph Goebbels' worldview :

“The main representatives of evil or Satan are the Jews. As an 'Antichrist', 'the Jew' must be destroyed by the executors of salvation. "

This point of view was intensely suggested to the own population in word, image and sound. The "Jew" was equated indirectly or directly with the Antichrist. The National Socialist chief ideologist Alfred Rosenberg described the Jewish people (in his formulation "Ahasver the ' Eternal Jew '") in the myth of the 20th century as "the son of Satanic nature wandering through world history", and as early as 1926 Adolf Hitler wrote :

“So today I believe I am acting in the spirit of the almighty Creator: By defending myself against the Jew, I fight for the work of the Lord. […] So he [the Jew] continues his fateful path until another power confronts him and throws him back to Lucifer in a mighty struggle .

In the same year Joseph Goebbels wrote in his diary on June 26th:

"The Jew is probably the antichrist in world history."

It was also he who proclaimed in relation to the Jews at the Nuremberg Rally in 1937 :

"See, this is the enemy of the world, the destroyer of cultures, the parasite among the peoples, the son of chaos, the incarnation of evil, the plastic demon of the decay of humanity."

Criticism and resistance

The term antichrist appeared in critical statements and literature on the regime as well as in resistance in a covert or encrypted form, but also very directly. Franz Werfel portrayed Hitler as "Antichrist" and "great dragon" in his 1938 and 1952 published fragment of the novel Cella or the Overcomers , without naming him . Reinhold Schneider wrote the poem Der in 1938, albeit without any explicit reference to Hitler Antichrist , and Joseph Roth wrote the essay The Antichrist in 1934 :

“A poet who, for example, did not fight against Hitler and the Third Reich today is certainly a small, weak person and probably also a worthless poet. [...] The task of the poet in our time is - to answer your question very precisely: the relentless fight against Germany, because this is the true home of evil in our time, the branch of hell, the residence of the Antichrist. "

- Joseph Roth : The Antichrist

The opera The Fall of the Antichrist, composed from 1935 onwards by the composer Viktor Ullmann , who was murdered in 1944, could not be premiered until 1988. The Catholic theologian Theodor Haecker assessed the German leadership and the war of aggression against England (as well as the French Revolution of 1789) as fundamentally anti-Christian:

"The leadership of Germany is today, there is not the slightest doubt about it [...] decidedly anti-Christian ... [...] But now it is clearly a matter of Christ and the Antichrist."

Despite his arrest, he condemned the murder of the Jewish people in traditional Christian-anti-Judaist categories of thought with reference to the image of the antichrist:

“The time may come when Germans abroad have to wear a swastika on the left side of their chest , that is, the mark of the Antichrist . Because of their persecution of the Jews, the Germans are getting closer and closer to the Jews and their fates. For today they crucified Christ for the second time, as a PEOPLE! "

In 1932 the Baptist preacher Arnold Köster described both the swastika and the Soviet star as "anti-Christian" in a German Baptist journal . In 1941 he presented seven characteristics of the Antichrist in a lecture in Vienna, and these characteristics were very specific to Hitler.

The Protestant Hans Scholl , who with the White Rose resistance group belonged to the resistance against National Socialism , described Hitler in a leaflet as the “messenger of the Antichrist” and later in a conversation with Haecker directly as the Antichrist: “The Antichrist is not just coming, he is already there!"

Discussion after 1945

After the end of the war , equating the Nazi regime and personifying its representatives as “evil par excellence” and the “antichrist” in the context of the sudden recognition of the extent of the Nazi crimes played a major role. Fritz von Unruh compared National Socialism with the plague and the Germans with "fanatically blinded pagans ". Thomas Mann spoke with the same reference of “Teufelsdreck” and “ Teufelspakt ”. He accused the writers, who did not emigrate between 1933 and 1945, of having " waited on Mr. Urian " and of having danced with him on the Witches' Sabbath . Ernst Wiechert described the Nazi rule in Der Totenwald as "the barbaric age and the realm of the Antichrist".

These images, mainly used by religiously bound writers, harbor the danger of obscuring the factual reality of the National Socialists and of evading analysis of the socio-political, economic, social and historical contexts that made National Socialism possible. Equating the National Socialist leadership with “evil” can enable the individual and the collective to avoid dealing with personal responsibility and guilt.


Christian denominations

The ecumenical movement has reached understanding between the churches and has refrained from assigning the Antichrist type to the other side.

In Europe, the term Antichrist is used, for example by the Sedis vacantist Johannes Rothkranz , by Manfred Adler , a former religious priest, or the evangelical Swiss missionary Wim Malgo . In 2007 the former Archbishop of Bologna, Giacomo Biffi, described pacifism , ecumenism and ecological movements as manifestations of the work of the Antichrist:

In the United States, on the other hand, the fear that the Antichrist will take over the world in the near future is widespread due to the intense media activity of evangelical publicists such as television preacher Jerry Falwell or writer and radio host Hal Lindsey. Evidence is an increasing supranationalism in Europe and North America, which is interpreted as a step on the way to a world government or the resurrection of the Roman Empire , the introduction of cashless payment transactions , with which the Antichrist, as predicted in Revelation, all who are not Marks deceive, will be excluded from any business activity, as well as the increasing electronic data processing and surveillance technology. In this context, it is imagined that all people will soon be implanted with a computer chip with which their whereabouts or even their thoughts can be controlled. These fears are often associated with conspiracy theories such as that of a "New World Order" that will prepare for or constitute the rule of the Antichrist.

Popular culture

In the 1960s, some conservative Christian groups identified artistic developments such as beat and rock music with anti- Christianity , behind which the devil stands. In response to this, there has been an increase in music groups ("ACs") that are emphatically anti-Christian since the 1980s. Many young people see in this reference a new kind of rebellion, which went hand in hand with new musical styles and associated subcultures such as punk , metal , hip-hop , gothic , dark electro , etc.; sometimes genuinely anti-Christian or satanic content is conveyed through them . Examples of such productions are the album Antichrist Superstar by the band Marilyn Manson , whose singer Brian Hugh Warner is a member of the Church of Satan , Anti'christ from Das Ich , The Antichrist from Destruction , Antichrist from Black Metal who see themselves as satanist Band Gorgoroth and an album by the band Akercocke, also titled Antichrist .

See also


  • Article Antichrist. In: Theological Real Encyclopedia . Volume 3. Walter de Gruyter, Berlin et al. 1978, pp. 20-50.
  • Article Antichrist. In: Religion Past and Present . 4th edition, Volume 1., Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen 1998, pp. 531-536.
  • Anthony Maas: Antichrist . In: The Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton, New York NY 1907.
  • Bernard McGinn : Antichrist. Two Thousand Years of the Human Fascination With Evil . 2nd edition, New York 2000 (1st edition, San Francisco 1994).
  • Jeffrey Burton Russell: The Prince of Darkness. Radical Evil and the Power of Good in History. Cornell University Press, Ithaca NY et al. 1992, ISBN 0-8014-2014-8 (German as: Biographie des Teufels. The radical evil and the power of the good in the world. Böhlau, Vienna et al. 2000, ISBN 3-205-99131- 1 ; Aufbau-Taschenbuch-Verlag, Berlin 2002, ISBN 3-7466-8076-X ).
  • Mariano Delgado , Volker Leppin (ed.): The Antichrist. Historical and systematic approaches . Kohlhammer, Stuttgart 2011, ISBN 978-3-17-021550-4 (studies on Christian religious and cultural history 14).
  • Wolfram Brandes , Felicitas Schmieder (eds.): Antichrist. Constructions of enemy images. Akademie Verlag, Berlin 2010, ISBN 978-3-05-004743-0 .
Late antiquity
  • Gregory C. Jenks: The Origins and Early Development of the Antichrist Myth. de Gruyter, Berlin et al. 1991, ISBN 3-11-012405-X ( Journal for New Testament Science and Customers of the Older Church , Supplement 59; also: Dissertation, University of Queensland 1989).
  • John Henry Newman : Advent Sermons on Antichrist. JGF & J. Rivington, London 1838 ( Tracts for the Times 83; (German as: Der Antichrist. After the teaching of the fathers. Kösel, Munich 1951)).
middle Ages
  • Barbara Könneker: The Antichrist. In: Ulrich Müller, Werner Wunderlich (ed.): Demons, monsters, mythical creatures. UVK, St. Gallen 1999, ISBN 3-908701-04-X , pp. 531-544.
  • Alfonso di Nola: The Antichrist and the Cosmic Catastrophe. In: The devil. Essence, effect, history. dtv, Munich 1993, ISBN 3-423-04600-7 , pp. 237-262.
  • Horst Dieter Rauh : The image of the Antichrist in the Middle Ages. From Tyconius to German Symbolism. Aschendorff, Münster 1973, ISBN 3-402-03903-6 .
Modern times
Anti-Semitism research
  • Stefan Rohrbacher , Michael Schmidt: The Antichrist. In: Stefan Rohrbacher, Michael Schmidt: Judenbilder. Cultural history of anti-Jewish myths and anti-Semitic prejudices. Rowohlt, Reinbek 1991, ISBN 3-499-55498-4 , ( Rowohlt's Encyclopedia 498 Cultures and Ideas ).
  • Joshua Trachtenberg: The Devil and the Jews. The Medieval Conception of the Jew and Its Relation to Modern Anti-Semitism. Yale University Press et al., New Haven CT 1943, (Also: Jewish Publications Society, Philadelphia PA 2002, ISBN).
  • Wolfgang Wippermann : Racial madness and belief in the devil. Frank & Timme, Berlin 2005, ISBN 3-86596-007-3 .
Other individual examinations
  • Wilhelm Bousset : The Antichrist in the tradition of Judaism, the New Testament and the old Church . Göttingen 1895 (classic).
  • Ulrich Knefelkamp, ​​Frank Martin (Ed.): The Antichrist. The stained glass of the Marienkirche in Frankfurt (Oder). Edition Leipzig, Leipzig 2008, ISBN 3-361-00638-4 .
  • Hannes Möhring : King of Kings. The Bamberg rider in a new interpretation. Langewiesche Nachf. Köster, Königstein 2004, ISBN 3-7845-2141-X (comparison of the ideas of the end-time struggle between Antichrist and Messiah in Christianity and Islam).
Literary processing
Newer Christian Antichrist Hypotheses
  • Wolfgang Borowsky: Christ and the world of the Antichrist. Bible and Scriptures Mission Dr. Kurt E. Koch eV, Aglasterhausen 1983, ISBN 3-924293-01-5 .
  • Wolfgang Borowsky: Will Lucifer come to power? Bible and Scriptures Mission Dr. Kurt E. Koch eV, Aglasterhausen 1985, ISBN 3-924293-17-1 .
  • Lothar Gassmann : The Antichrist and his false prophet. Samenkorn-Verlag, Steinhagen 2010, ISBN 978-3-936894-82-0 .
  • Dave Hunt : Global Peace and Rise of the Antichrist. 2nd Edition. Verlag CM Fliß, Hamburg 1994, ISBN 3-922349-81-1 .

Web links

Wiktionary: Antichrist  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. ^ According to Fritz Rienecker , Gerhard Meier: Lexicon to the Bible. R. Brockhaus, 1998, p. 95, the preposition ἀντί in ancient Greek meant “instead of” and only assumed its New Testament meaning in the Koine .
  2. a b Otto Böcher: Antichrist II. In: Theologische Realenzyklopädie. Volume 3, p. 22.
  3. Examples according to Otto Böcher: Antichrist II. In: Theologische Realenzyklopädie , Volume 3, p. 21f
  4. Martin Karrer : Antichrist . In: Evangelisches Kirchenlexikon . Vandenhoeck and Ruprecht, Göttingen 1992, Vol. 1, Sp. 173.
  5. Hans-Josef Klauck : Antichrist. New Testament. In: In: Religion past and present . 4th edition, Volume 1., Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen 1998, p. 511.
  6. ^ Leonard Goppel: Political Antichristentum and the true disciples. In: Theology of the New Testament. Vandenhoeck and Ruprecht, Göttingen 1978, ISBN 3-525-03252-8 , pp. 520ff
  7. Martin Karrer: Antichrist . In: Evangelisches Kirchenlexikon . Vandenhoeck and Ruprecht, Göttingen 1992, Vol. 1, Sp. 173.
  8. Philipp Vielhauer : Apokalyptik des Urchristentums. In: Oikodome. Essays on the New Testament. 2 volumes. Christian Kaiser Verlag, Munich 1986 (1st edition 1964), ISBN 3-459-01236-6 , pp. 407-454.
  9. Otto Böcher: Antichrist II. In: Theologische Realenzyklopädie. Volume 3, p. 23.
  10. ^ Karlmann Beyschlag: Simon Magus and the Christian Gnosis. JCB Mohr, Tübingen 1974, ISBN 3-16-135872-4 , p. 15.
  11. ^ A b Gustav Adolf Benrath: Antichrist III. In: Theological Real Encyclopedia. Volume 3. p. 25.
  12. ^ Otto Borst : Everyday life in the Middle Ages. Insel-Verlag, Frankfurt 1983, ISBN 3-458-32213-2 , p. 563 ff.
  13. ^ Johan Huizinga : Autumn of the Middle Ages. Studies of forms of life and spirit in the 14th and 15th centuries in France and the Netherlands
  14. ^ A b Gustav Adolf Benrath: Antichrist III. In: Theological Real Encyclopedia. Volume 3, p. 26.
  15. Jeffrey Burton Russel: Biography of the Devil. Aufbau-Taschenbuch-Verlag, Berlin 2002, p. 178.
  16. Jan A. Aertsen, Martin Pickavé (Ed.): End and completion. Eschatological Perspectives in the Middle Ages. With a contribution to the history of the Thomas Institute of the University of Cologne on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the institute's foundation. de Gruyter, Berlin and New York 2002, ISBN 3-11-017214-3 , p. 217.
  17. Steven Runciman : History of the Crusades. dtv, Munich 1995, ISBN 3-423-04670-8 , p. 814.
  18. ^ A b Gustav Adolf Benrath: Antichrist III. In: Theological Real Encyclopedia. Volume 3. P. 27.
  19. Helmut de Boor : The German literature in the late Middle Ages. Part 1: 1250-1370. Beck, Munich 1994, ISBN 3-406-40378-6 , p. 222 ff.
  20. ^ Stefan Rohrbacher , Michael Schmidt: Judenbilder. Cultural history of anti-Jewish myths and anti-Semitic prejudices. Rowohlt, Reinbek 1991, p. 178 ff.
  21. Smahel Frantisek: The Hussite Revolution. Volume 1. Hahn, Hannover 2002, ISBN 3-7752-5443-9 , p. 492.
  22. ^ A b Hans Schwarz: The Christian Hope. Basic course in eschatology. Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 2002, ISBN 3-525-61403-9 , p. 75.
  23. All information in this section based on Gottfried Seebass : Antichrist IV. In: Theologische Realenzyklopädie. Volume 3. P. 28ff
  24. Lucas Cranach the Elder: Passional Christi and Antichristi
  25. Martin Luther: The Schmalkaldic Articles (1537). In: Confessions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church . Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 1930, pp. 405–468, here p. 432 ( online ( memento of September 28, 2007 in the Internet Archive ) on, accessed on November 18, 2018.
  26. All information in this section based on Gottfried Seebass: Antichrist IV. In: Theologische Realenzyklopädie. Volume 3. pp. 30ff
  27. All information in this section based on Gottfried Seebass: Antichrist IV. In: Theologische Realenzyklopädie. Volume 3, pp. 32f
  28. All information in this section based on Gottfried Seebass: Antichrist IV. In: Theologische Realenzyklopädie. Volume 3. p. 34.
  29. All information in this section based on Gottfried Seebass: Antichrist IV. In: Theologische Realenzyklopädie. Volume 3. P. 34f
  30. All information in this section based on Gottfried Seebass: Antichrist IV. In: Theologische Realenzyklopädie. Volume 3. pp. 35ff
  31. Religion within the Limits of Mere Reason . VI, 136; quoted from works in six volumes. Edited by Wilhelm Weischedel . Volume 4. Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, Darmstadt 1983, p. 802; AA VI, 136 , see also AA VI, 80
  32. ^ Jörg Salaquarda: Antichrist V. In: Theologische Realenzyklopädie. Volume 3, p. 44.
  33. Jeffrey Burton Russel: Biography of the Devil. Aufbau-Taschenbuch-Verlag, Berlin 2002, pp. 277ff
  34. Jeffrey Burton Russel: Biography of the Devil. Aufbau-Taschenbuch-Verlag, Berlin 2002, pp. 297-316.
  35. ^ Northrop Frye : Fearful Symmetry. 1947 ( excerpt ( memento of October 7, 2008 in the Internet Archive ))
  36. Inscription on the etching Laocoön (approx. 1826–1827)
  37. Jeffrey Burton Russel: Biography of the Devil. Aufbau-Taschenbuch-Verlag, Berlin 2002, p. 316.
  38. Michael Barkun : A Culture of Conspiracy. Apocalyptic Visions in Contemporary America . University of California Press, Berkeley 2013, p. 41 ff.
  39. ^ Stefan Rohrbacher, Michael Schmidt: Judenbilder. Cultural history of anti-Jewish myths and anti-Semitic prejudices. Rowohlt, Reinbek 1991, p. 192.
  40. Gerald Winrod: Antichrist and the Tribe of Dan. Defender Publishers, Wichita 1936, quoted in Michael Barkun: A Culture of Conspiracy. Apocalyptic Visions in Contemporary America . University of California Press, Berkeley 2013, p. 42 f.
  41. ^ Antichrist Is Alive, And a Male Jew, Falwell Contends : In: New York Times, January 16, 1999 ( online , accessed May 16, 2015); Michael Barkun: A Culture of Conspiracy. Apocalyptic Visions in Contemporary America . University of California Press, Berkeley 2013, p. 43.
  42. ^ Olaf B. Rader: Grave and Rule - Political cult of the dead from Alexander the Great to Lenin. Beck, Munich 2003, ISBN 3-406-50917-7 , p. 242.
  43. Theological Real Encyclopedia. Volume 3. p. 41.
  44. Michael Ley: Modern Apocalypse - the National Socialist ideology. In: Holocaust as human sacrifice. From Christianity to the political religion of National Socialism. Lit, Münster / Hamburg / London 2002, ISBN 3-8258-6408-1 , p. 125 ff.
  45. Julius H. Schoeps : Mania for redemption and the will to destroy. National Socialism as a Political Religion. In: Gerhard Besier : Between “National Revolution” and military aggression. Transformations in church and society during the consolidated Nazi tyranny (1934–1939). Oldenbourg, Munich 1998, ISBN 3-486-56543-5 , p. 56 ff.
  46. The young Goebbels. Redemption and annihilation. Fink, Paderborn / Munich 2004, ISBN 3-7705-3806-4 , p. 100.
  47. "Gaudy half and half demonic, ridiculous and tragic at the same time, despised by all majesty and yet feeling innocent (because devoid of any ability to understand anything other than himself), Ahasverus drifts through history as the son of Satanic nature of the world. ”(33rd – 34th edition. 1934, p. 265).
  48. My struggle . Munich, 1926, p. 70 u. 751
  49. Julius H. Schoeps: On the Jewish question: When they became rats ... In: Die Zeit . No. 43 , October 17, 1980 ( [accessed February 20, 2019]).
  50. Quoted online from Carsten Peter Thiede (Ed.): Christian literature of the 20th century. R. Brockhaus, Wuppertal 1985, p. 134.
  51. Quoted from Konstantin Kaiser : Literature and Resistance. The political nature and tradition of the concept of resistance (PDF; 40 kB). Website of the University of Salzburg , 2002
  52. a b Niklas Günther, Sönke Zankel (ed.): Abrahams Enkel - Jews, Christians, Muslims and the Shoah. Steiner, Stuttgart 2006, ISBN 3-515-08979-9 , p. 36 f.
  53. Truth Witness, September 11, 1932, p. - The lecture was printed posthumously in Arnold Köster, lamplight in the dark place . Vienna 1965, pp. 107–122.
  54. Flyer IV on the website of the Federal Agency for Civic Education ( PDF )
  55. Quoted in Insight News: Everything is grace . August 2008 (addition by Jakob Knab )
  56. ^ A b Waltraud Wara Wende: Culture as a program against Hitler. Discourse strategies of the new beginning in the period between 1945 and 1949. In: Hans-Jörg Schmidt and Petra Tallafuss: Totalitarismus und Literatur. German literature in the 20th century. Literary public in the field of tension of totalitarian opinion formation. Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 2007, ISBN 3-525-36909-3 , p. 142 f.
  57. Dirk Krüger in the exile archive: “The dead as a memory, the living as shame, the coming as a warning”. Ernst Wiechert's "The Dead Forest". A report from Buchenwald concentration camp ( Memento from November 12, 2007 in the Internet Archive ) (PDF; 22 kB)
  58. The Times : Cardinal's "Antichrist" warnings raise eyebrows . March 1, 2007
  59. Michael Barkun: A Culture of Conspiracy. Apocalyptic Visions in Contemporary America . University of California Press, Berkeley 2013, pp. 42-45.