This dissertation explores the intersections between apocalyptic theology and popular religiosity. Through dialogue between the apocalyptic theology of the German theologian Johann Baptist Metz and the devotion to the Black Nazarene of Quiapo, it proposes that by interpreting the transformative encounter between the devotees and the Black Nazarene through the lens of Metz’ apocalyptic theology, the understanding of the devotion is deepened, while also grounding and expanding Metz’s apocalyptic theology through the experience of devotees and the life of the faith community surrounding the devotion to the Poón.
The dissertation argues that systematizing Metz’s theology around three aspects of apocalyptic in his work – apocalyptic faith, apocalyptic spirituality, and apocalyptic ecclesiology – allows for it to be into fruitful dialogue with popular religion, especially the devotion to the Black Nazarene. These three aspects provide a means for appreciating and deepening the understanding of the devotees’ encounter with the Black Nazarene and how that leads to transformation at the individual, communal, and societal levels. At the same time, the devotion to the Black Nazarene grounds Metz’s apocalyptic theology in the concrete encounter between the devotees and the Poón and addresses some criticisms of his apocalyptic theology as it extends its relevance to the life of the church community of the devotees.