The idea of the apocalypse is rooted in centuries of religion, art, literature and science from the book of Revelation to Dante's writings to the threat of nuclear destruction with depictions and predictions of the end of the world.

Now, an international team of religious scholars has assembled to provide a history and analysis of end times in The Encyclopedia of Apocalypticism. The three-volume collection will include more than 40 lengthy essays discussing thousands of years of biblical and secular perspectives.The 1,500-page encyclopedia, which will be published this summer through efforts of professors at the University of Chicago's divinity school, will explore topics such as Jesus and Mohammed as apocalyptic prophets, the Dead Sea Scrolls, Jewish mysticism, notions of the Antichrist and images of the apocalypse in modern popular culture, from rock music and films to politics and the environment.

Four years in the making, the encyclopedia will be coming out shortly before the year 2000, a pivotal moment for some evangelicals who believe the millennium will usher in the Second Coming.