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A Christian doctrine holding that at least some of the apocalyptic prophecies in the Bible describe events that occurred within the first century after Jesus's death, rather than events that lie still in the future.

[Latin praeter, beyond, past; see preterite + -ism.]

pret′er·ist n.


the belief that the prophecies of the book of Revelation have already come to pass. — preterist, n., adj.
See also: Christianity
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John Hentennius first introduced Preterism, which argues that most of the Apocalypse's prophecies have already been fulfilled, in 1547, but it was Portuguese Jesuit Luis de Alcazar (1554-1613) who developed it more fully.
(28) The considerable cultural and temporal optimism that this theology implied had been kept strictly subordinate to the salvific efforts of the church--that is, until liberal postmillennialism arose from this very kind of preterism and began to reinterpret "the public means of grace" as a new politicized program of social reform.