The Religion of Antichrist
by S. M. Hutchens
In the summer issue of 1990, Touchstone published a somewhat reduced version of Vladimir Solovyov’s “A Short Story of Antichrist,” which may be found in our online archive and elsewhere as part of a longer work. I am not sure what inspired this selection thirty years ago, which I had not encountered before and have referred to many times since, but I find it interesting and significant that at this early stage of the journal’s development, it took up this eschatological theme—and not from the environs of Left Behind (however despised by those who are above it all, a modern representative of something very old, in the tradition of the ludi Antichristi of the medieval marketplace) but from those of Eastern Christianity.
Those who study the history of apocalyptic literature will recognize that here Solovyov represents an ancient and pervasive Christian concern, which is not at all surprising given the importance of the theme in both Testaments. Stories of the Antichrist can be traced back at least to the tenth century, when the first of his biographies, De Ortu et Tempore Antichristi (Of the Rise and the Times of the Antichrist), was written at the request of the Queen of France by Adso, a learned monk of the Benedictine monastery at Montier-en-Der. In the September 19, 2019 online column Settimo Cielo, Sandro Magister, a long-time observer of Vatican affairs, upon which he is commenting, takes up the theme again, with reference to a writing by the theologian and cardinal Giacomo Biffi. I have decided to devote this Mortal Remains to an excerpt I think will be of interest to Touchstone readers, but is too long for a Quodlibet or Commonplaces entry. Magister writes,
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S. M. Hutchens is a Touchstone senior editor.
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