The phrase "an over-realized eschatology" seems to get a run from time to time in theological discussions (example) or blog posts (example). Who first coined this phrase* and in what context were they using it?

In my own research, it appears that C.H. Dodd promoted a "realized eschatology". Was "over-realized eschatology" coined in the context of a critique of Dodd's eschatology?

*or semantic equivalent if its first appearance in English was a translation.

1 Answer 1


The term appears to me to be original to William Lane in his 1965 discussion of the beliefs of the Corinthians to whom Paul wrote (Lane, William L. "I Tim. IV. 1–3. An Early Instance of Over-Realized Eschatology?." New Testament Studies 11.02 (1965): 164-167.) Bernardin Schneider derives his 1967 use of the term and notion solely from Lane.

The term was undoubtedly influenced by C.H. Dodd's popularization of the term and notion of "realized eschatology", but does not appear to originally have been a theological reaction to his work.

The following are early sources discussing the over-realized eschatology of Corinthians, which I do not have in front of me, and may or may not use the term:

  • E. Käsemann, Essays on New Testament Themes (ET, London: SCM, 1964) 171
  • C. K. Barrett, A Commentary on the First Epistle to the Corinthians (London, 1968), p. 109
  • E. Käsemann, New Testament Questions of Today (E.T. London, 1969) pp. 125-6.
  • F. F. Bruce, 1 and 2 Corinthians (London, 1971), pp. 49-50

I expect these will be similar to Bartsch (1965), who discusses debate between realized eschatology and non-realized eschatologies in early Christian thought without using the terms "realized" or "over-realized".

The term became frequently used in discussions of the eschatology of 1 Corinthians (Barker, 1969; Talbert, 1977; Thiselton, 1978; Bauckham, 1980), and later in discussions of Luke (Talbert, 1977; Mattill, 1979).


  • Thank you very much. There still seems to be a slight discrepancy however in attibuting originality of the term to Lane in 1965, when you say it might have appeared in Kasemann in 1964. Is your determination because others cite Lane for originating the term (Schneider + anyone else?) or is there some other reason? Commented Mar 28, 2017 at 20:42
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    I did notice the earlier date of Käsemann's work, and since he is cited in these discussions, we should hesitate until we have a copy of his work before us. However, I based my claim on having read Lane's work, which seems to be an original interpretation, and does not cite Käsemann, and the fact that Schneider exclusively cites Lane for this. Commented Mar 28, 2017 at 20:53

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