Anti-Apocalypse was first published in 1994. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.
As the year 2000 looms, heralding a new millennium, apocalyptic thought abounds-and not merely among religious radicals. In politics, science, philosophy, popular culture, and feminist discourse, apprehensions of the End appear in images of cultural decline and urban chaos, forecasts of the end of history and ecological devastation, and visions of a new age of triumphant technology or a gender-free utopia. There is, Lee Quinby contends, a threatening "regime of truth" prevailing in the United States-and this regime, with its enforcement of absolute truth and morality, imperils democracy. In Anti-Apocalypse, Quinby offers a powerful critique of the millenarian rhetoric that pervades American culture. In doing so, she develops strategies for resisting its tyrannies.
Drawing on feminist and Foucauldian theory, Quinby explores the complex relationship between power, truth, ethics, and apocalypse. She exposes the ramifications of this relationship in areas as diverse as jeanswear magazine advertising, the Human Genome project, contemporary feminism and philosophy, texts by Henry Adams and Zora Neale Hurston, and radical democratic activism. By bringing together such a wide range of topics, Quinby shows how apocalypse weaves its way through a vast network of seemingly unrelated discourses and practices. Tracing the deployment of power through systems of alliance, sexuality, and technology, Quinby reveals how these power relationships produce conflicting modes of subjectivity that create possibilities for resistance. She promotes a variety of critical stances—genealogical feminism, an ethics of the flesh, and "pissed criticism"—as challenges to apocalyptic claims for absolute truth and universal morality. Far-reaching in its implications for social and cultural theory as well as for political activism, Anti-Apocalypse will engage readers across the cultural spectrum and challenge them to confront one of the most subtle and insidious orthodoxies of our day.
Lee Quinby is associate professor of English and American studies at Hobart and William Smith Colleges. She is the author of Freedom, Foucault, and the Subject of America (1991) and coeditor (with Irene Diamond) of Feminism and Foucault: Reflections on Resistance (1988).
This volume contains two texts that crossed the Mediterranean in Late Antiquity. The Apocalypse of Pseudo-Methodius was one of the first works composed in response to the Arab invasions and the establishment of the Muslim empire in the seventh century. In a matter of decades, it was translated from its original Syriac into Greek and from Greek into Latin. (Both the Greek and Latin texts are presented here.) The Apocalypse enjoyed immense popularity throughout the Middle Ages, informing expectations of the end of the world, responses to strange and exotic invaders like the Mongols and Turks, and even the legendary versions of the life of Alexander the Great. An Alexandrian World Chronicle (Excerpta Latina Barbari) was considered important by no less a humanist than Joseph Scaliger. He recognized it as a representative of an early stage in the Christian chronicle tradition that would dominate medieval historiography. The original Greek text may have been a diplomatic gift from the court of Justinian to a potential ally among Frankish royalty, translated two centuries later by the Franks themselves in their efforts to convert the pagan Saxons. In addition to presenting a universal chronicle with a comprehensive ethnography and geography, the Excerpta offer a Euhemeristic narrative of the gods and another account of Alexander.
The Apocalypse in Germany
Klaus Vondung & Translated by Stephen D. Ricks University of Missouri Press, 2001 Library of Congress DD97.V6613 2000 | Dewey Decimal 943.001
Originally published in German in 1988, The Apocalypse in Germany is now available for the first time in English. A fitting subject for the dawn of the new millennium, the apocalypse has intrigued humanity for the last two thousand years, serving as both a fascinating vision of redemption and a profound threat.
A cross-disciplinary study, The Apocalypse in Germany analyzes fundamental aspects of the apocalypse as a religious, political, and aesthetic phenomenon. Author Klaus Vondung draws from religious, philosophical, and political texts, as well as works of art and literature. Using classic Jewish and Christian apocalyptic texts as symbolic and historical paradigms, Vondung determines the structural characteristics and the typical images of the apocalyptic worldview. He clarifies the relationship between apocalyptic visions and utopian speculations and explores the question of whether modern apocalypses can be viewed as secularizations of the Judeo-Christian models.
Examining sources from the eighteenth century to the present, Vondung considers the origins of German nationalism, World War I, National Socialism, and the apocalyptic tendencies in Marxism as well as German literature—from the fin de siècle to postmodernism. His analysis of the existential dimension of the apocalypse explores the circumstances under which particular individuals become apocalyptic visionaries and explains why the apocalyptic tradition is so prevalent in Germany.
The Apocalypse in Germany offers an interdisciplinary perspective that will appeal to a broad audience. This book will also be of value to readers with an interest in German studies, as it clarifies the riddles of Germany's turbulent history and examines the profile of German culture, particularly in the past century.
While John Winthrop might have famously uttered the phrase “city upon a hill” on the way to Massachusetts, the strands of millennialism and exceptionalism that remain so central to U.S. political discourse are now dominated by eschatological visions that have emerged from the particular historical experiences of the U.S. South. Despite the strategic exploitation of this reality by political communicators, scholars in the humanities have paid little attention to the eschatological visions offered by southern religious culture.
Fortunately, writers and artists have not ignored such matters; compared to their academic counterparts, southern novelists have been far better attuned to a southern apocalyptic imaginary—a field of reference, drawn from the cosmology of southern evangelical Protestantism, that maps the apocalyptic possibilities of cataclysm, judgment, deliverance, and even revolution onto the landscape of the region. Apocalypse South rectifies the omissions in existing scholarship by interrogating the role of apocalyptic discourse in selected works of fiction by four southern writers—William Faulkner, Richard Wright, Randall Kenan, and Dorothy Allison. In doing so, it reinvigorates discussions of religion in southern literary scholarship and introduces a new element in the ongoing investigation into how regional identities function in notions of national mission and American exceptionalism. Engaging concerns of religion, race, sexuality, and community in fiction from the 1930s to the present, Apocalypse South offers a new conceptual framework for considering what has long been considered “southern Gothic literature”—a framework less concerned with the conventions of a particular literary genre than with the ways in which literature exposes and even tries to make sense of the contradictions within cultures.
Apocalyptic Anxiety traces the sources of American culture’s obsession with predicting and preparing for the apocalypse. Author Anthony Aveni explores why Americans take millennial claims seriously, where and how end-of-the-world predictions emerge, how they develop within a broader historical framework, and what we can learn from doomsday predictions of the past.
The book begins with the Millerites, the nineteenth-century religious sect of Pastor William Miller, who used biblical calculations to predict October 22, 1844 as the date for the Second Advent of Christ. Aveni also examines several other religious and philosophical movements that have centered on apocalyptic themes—Christian millennialism, the New Age movement and the Age of Aquarius, and various other nineteenth- and early twentieth-century religious sects, concluding with a focus on the Maya mystery of 2012 and the contemporary prophets who connected the end of the world as we know it with the overturning of the Maya calendar.
Apocalyptic Anxiety places these seemingly never-ending stories of the world’s end in the context of American history. This fascinating exploration of the deep historical and cultural roots of America’s voracious appetite for apocalypse will appeal to students of American history and the histories of religion and science, as well as lay readers interested in American culture and doomsday prophecies.
Blending biography, cultural history, and literary criticism, The Bop Apocalypse explores the religious concerns, metaphysical realities, and spiritual pursuits that undergirded the early friendship and literary collaborations of Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, and William S. Burroughs.
Presenting a religious biography of the Beats from the mid-1940s to the late 1950s, John Lardas shows that in rejecting many of the cultural tenets of postwar America, Kerouac, Ginsberg, and Burroughs created new visions of both self and country, visions they articulated through distinctive literary forms. Lardas examines how the Beat writers distilled a theology of experience--a religious vision that animated their everyday existence as well as their art--from a flurry of disparate influences that included the saxophone wails of Charlie Parker and Lester Young, the psychology of Wilhelm Reich, the linguistic theories of Alfred Korzybski, the hipster dialects of New York City, and especially the prophecies of Oswald Spengler. Revisiting the major works the Beats produced in the 1950s in terms of critical content, Lardas considers how their lived religion was incorporated into the way they wrote.
The first sustained treatment of Beat religiosity, The Bop Apocalypse takes a sophisticated look beyond the cartoonish reductions of the Beat counterculture. The Bop Apocalypse takes the Beats at face value, interpreting their sexual openness, drug use, criminality, compulsion to travel, and madness as the logical, physical enactments of a religious representation of the world. Far from dallying irrelevantly on the fringes of society, Lardas asserts, the Beats engaged America on moral grounds through the discourse of public religion.
One Word – Yak Kaleme was one of the first treatises in the Middle East to demonstrate that Islam is compatible with the introduction of modern western forms of government, and specifically that the principles of the sharia can be incorporated in a codified law comparable to that found in European countries. This was a daring argument in the late 19th century, when it was extremely difficult to convince the rulers and religious class that a civil code of law was needed: would it not diminish the status of the ruler, and would it not be an admission that the religious law, the sharia, was deficient?
The author, Mirza Yu¯suf Kha¯n Mustashar al-Dawla (d. 1895), was a liberal-minded bureaucrat campaigning for reform of the absolutist system and the creation of one based on European principles of government. He held several posts abroad including St Petersburg (1854-62), and Paris (1867-71), as well as carrying out administrative duties in Iran itself.
In One Word he argues that the principles underlying constitutional government can be found in Islamic sources, particularly in the Quran and traditions of the Prophet. Unlike some Oriental travellers to Europe at that time, he observed that European dominance was not derived from a few technological advances, but primarily from the organisation of society, on the basis of codified law. One Word was a significant text in the lead-up to the Iranian Constitutional Revolution of 1906, but its message is relevant today.
A new approach to the vast nuclear infrastructure and the apocalypses it produces, focusing on Black, queer, Indigenous, and Asian American literatures
Since 1945, America has spent more resources on nuclear technology than any other national project. Although it requires a massive infrastructure that touches society on myriad levels, nuclear technology has typically been discussed in a limited, top-down fashion that clusters around powerful men. In Infrastructures of Apocalypse, Jessica Hurley turns this conventional wisdom on its head, offering a new approach that focuses on neglected authors and Black, queer, Indigenous, and Asian American perspectives.
Exchanging the usual white, male “nuclear canon” for authors that include James Baldwin, Leslie Marmon Silko, and Ruth Ozeki, Infrastructures of Apocalypse delivers a fresh literary history of post-1945 America that focuses on apocalypse from below. Here Hurley critiques the racialized urban spaces of civil defense and reads nuclear waste as a colonial weapon. Uniting these diverse lines of inquiry is Hurley’s belief that apocalyptic thinking is not the opposite of engagement but rather a productive way of imagining radically new forms of engagement.
Infrastructures of Apocalypse offers futurelessness as a place from which we can construct a livable world. It fills a blind spot in scholarship on American literature of the nuclear age, while also offering provocative, surprising new readings of such well-known works as Atlas Shrugged, Infinite Jest, and Angels in America. Infrastructures of Apocalypse is a revelation for readers interested in nuclear issues, decolonial literature, speculative fiction, and American studies.
The seventh-century CE Hebrew work Sefer Zerubbabel (Book of Zerubbabel), composed during the period of conflict between Persia and the Byzantine Empire for control over Palestine, is the first full-fledged messianic narrative in Jewish literature. Martha Himmelfarb offers a comprehensive analysis of this rich but understudied text, illuminating its distinctive literary features and the complex milieu from which it arose.
Sefer Zerubbabel presents itself as an angelic revelation of the end of times to Zerubbabel, a biblical leader of the sixth century BCE, and relates a tale of two messiahs who, as Himmelfarb shows, play a major role in later Jewish narratives. The first messiah, a descendant of Joseph, dies in battle at the hands of Armilos, the son of Satan who embodies the Byzantine Empire. He is followed by a messiah descended from David modeled on the suffering servant of Isaiah, who brings him back to life and triumphs over Armilos. The mother of the Davidic messiah also figures in the work as a warrior.
Himmelfarb places Sefer Zerubbabel in the dual context of earlier Jewish eschatology and Byzantine Christianity. The role of the messiah’s mother, for example, reflects the Byzantine notion of the Virgin Mary as the protector of Constantinople. On the other hand, Sefer Zerubbabel shares traditions about the messiahs with rabbinic literature. But while the rabbis are ambivalent about these traditions, Sefer Zerubbabel embraces them with enthusiasm.
Recognizing that the seventeenth century's volatile debate over apocalyptic interpretation has since become a one-sided discussion, Esther Gilman Richey develops a context that recovers the dynamism so inherent in the writings of the period and provides illuminating details that enhance the prophetic continuum. The Politics of Revelation in the English Renaissance does not ignore the familiar prophetic verse of Spenser and Milton, but it significantly expands the scope of study by examining the interpretations of both men and women who represent a range of ecclesiastical and political perspectives.
Richey rejects Barbara Lewalski's claim that the radical, prophetic writers and metaphysical poets of the seventeenth century drew inspiration from distinct biblical models, the former from the Apocalypse and the latter from the Psalms. Instead she contends that even writers such as Donne and Herbert, whom we have long considered "literary," were in reality using their poetry to participate in the hottest debates of the time.
While the radical writers, such as Spenser and Milton, were immediately responsive to ecclesiastical and political controversies, the conservative, metaphysical poets—Donne, Herbert, and Vaughan—were posing equally politically charged questions: Is the pope Antichrist? Is the Bride of Christ pure? Is the Temple a model of ecclesiastical reform? The writers of the period did not move in divided and distinguished worlds, but in fact constantly responded to one another through poetic and politically charged dialogue.
By drawing from the writings of various individuals, both radical and conformist, male and female, Richey traces the shifting representations of the apocalyptic Bride and Temple over time. Organized chronologically, the chapters of The Politics of Revelation in the English Renaissance reveal the escalating debate among the pacifists, conformists, militants, and feminists. Not only does Richey uncover the prophetic dimension of conformist writers usually described as apolitical and devotional, but she also explores the writings of lesser-known women prophets: Aemilia Lanyer, Mary Cary, Anna Trapnel, and Margaret Fell. In such biblical passages as the apocalyptic "woman clothed with the sun," these early feminists find the authority for their own prophetic speech.
This provocative analysis—at once far-reaching and tightly focused—reveals the complexity of the apocalyptic discourse that transpired among Renaissance writers and poets.
Science fiction captures contemporary sentiment with its faith in a scientific/technological future, its explorations of the ultimate meaning of man’s existence. Kreuziger is interested particularly in the apocalyptic visions of science fiction compared to the biblical revelations of John and Daniel. For some time our confidence has been placed largely in science, which has practically become a religion. Science fiction articulates the consequences of a faith in a technological future.
Although nearly forgotten today, the prophetic writing of Wilhelm Friess was the most popular work of its kind in Germany in the second half of the sixteenth century. While the author “Wilhelm Friess” was a convenient fiction, his text had a long and remarkable history as it moved from the papal court in fourteenth-century Avignon, to Antwerp under Habsburg oppression, to Nuremberg as it was still reeling from Lutheran failures in the Schmalkaldic War, and then back to Antwerp at the outbreak of the Dutch revolt.
Dutch scholars have recognized that Frans Fraet was executed for printing a prognostication by Willem de Vriese, but this prognostication was thought to be lost. A few scholars of sixteenth-century German apocalypticism have briefly noted the prophecies of Wilhelm Friess but have not studied them in depth. The Strange and Terrible Visions of Wilhelm Friess is the first to connect de Vriese and Friess, as well as recognize the prophecy of Wilhelm Friess as an adaptation of a French version of theVademecum of Johannes de Rupescissa, making these pamphlets by far the most widespread source for Rupescissa’s apocalyptic thought in Reformation Germany. The book explains the connection between the first and second prophecies of Wilhelm Friess and discovers the Calvinist context of the second prophecy and its connection to Johann Fischart, one of the most important German writers of the time.
Jonathan Green provides a study of how textual history interacts with print history in early modern pamphlets and proposes a model of how early modern prophecies were created and transmitted. The Strange and Terrible Visions of Wilhelm Friess makes important contributions to the study of early modern German and Dutch literature, apocalypticism and confessionalization during the Reformation, and the history of printing in the sixteenth century.
In spite of some scholars’ inclination to include the book of Jubilees as another witness to “Enochic Judaism,” the relationship of Jubilees to the apocalyptic writings and events surrounding the Maccabean revolt has never been adequately clarified. This book builds on scholarship on genre to establish a clear pattern among the ways Jubilees resembles and differs from other apocalypses. Jubilees matches the apocalypses of its day in overall structure and literary morphology. Jubilees also uses the literary genre to raise the issues typical of the apocalypses—including revelation, angels and demons, judgment, and eschatology—but rejects what the apocalypses typically say about those issues, subverting reader expectations with a corrected view. In addition to the main argument concerning Jubilees, this volume’s survey of what is fundamentally apocalyptic about apocalyptic literature advances the understanding of early Jewish apocalyptic literature and, in turn, of later apocalypses and comparable perspectives, including those of Paul and the Qumran sectarians.
Vision and Violence
Arthur P. Mendel University of Michigan Press, 1999 Library of Congress BL501.M45 1999 | Dewey Decimal 302.17
Vision and Violence argues that throughout Western history, the Apocalypse has changed nothing but its guise--from God to Reason, to History, and then to Nature--all the while holding us rapt with its prophecy of universal devastation. While in Judaism and Christianity it inspires efforts to uplift societies spiritually, the apocalyptic fantasy serves in secular thought--as in today's environmental movement--to bring about much-needed policy reforms.
Much of the book is devoted to an examination of the persistence of the apocalyptic heritage from ancient Greek and Hebrew civilizations, through the religious revivals of the Middle Ages and the Enlightenment belief in progress, to its importance in Hegelian and Bolshevik thought, and finally to its expression today in the resurgence of religious fundamentalism in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.
Mendel concludes his remarkable book with an appeal for the more modest and humane philosophy of the "repair of the world," which, he argues, is central to biblical teaching.
The late Arthur P. Mendel was Professor of History, University of Michigan, specializing in Russian intellectual history. His first book, Dilemmas of Progress in Tsarist Russia: Legal Marxism and Legal Populism, established him as one of the outstanding historians of his generation. Richard Landes is co-founder, with Stephen O'Leary, of the Center for Millennial Studies. He is also Associate Professor of History, Boston University, and author of Relics, Apocalypse, and the Deceits of History: Ademar of Chabannes, 989-1034.
Wallace Stevens and the Apocalyptic Mode focuses on Stevens’s doubled stance toward the apocalyptic past: his simultaneous use of and resistance to apocalyptic language, two contradictory forces that have generated two dominant and incompatible interpretations of his work. The book explores the often paradoxical roles of apocalyptic and antiapocalyptic rhetoric in modernist and postmodernist poetry and theory, particularly as these emerge in the poetry of Stevens and Jorie Graham.
This study begins with an examination of the textual and generic issues surrounding apocalypse, culminating in the idea of apocalyptic language as a form of “discursive mastery” over the mayhem of events. Woodland provides an informative religious/historical discussion of apocalypse and, engaging with such critics as Parker, Derrida, and Fowler, sets forth the paradoxes and complexities that eventually challenge any clear dualities between apocalyptic and antiapocalyptic thinking.
Woodland then examines some of Stevens’s wartime essays and poems and describes Stevens’s efforts to salvage a sense of self and poetic vitality in a time of war, as well as his resistance to the possibility of cultural collapse. Woodland discusses the major postwar poems “Credences of Summer” and “The Auroras of Autumn” in separate chapters, examining the interaction of (anti)apocalyptic modes with, respectively, pastoral and elegy.
The final chapter offers a perspective on Stevens’s place in literary history by examining the work of a contemporary poet, Jorie Graham, whose poetry quotes from Stevens’s oeuvre and shows other marks of his influence. Woodland focuses on Graham's 1997 collection The Errancy and shows that her antiapocalyptic poetry involves a very different attitude toward the possibility of a radical break with a particular cultural or aesthetic stance.
Wallace Stevens and the Apocalyptic Mode, offering a new understanding of Stevens’s position in literary history, will greatly interest literary scholars and students.
Writings on the Apocalypse
Francis X. Gumerlock Catholic University of America Press, 2022 Library of Congress BS646.W7513 2022 | Dewey Decimal 228.06
The Apocalypse or Book of Revelation is one of the most frequently discussed books of the biblical canon and arguably one of the most difficult to interpret. This volume contains three texts as examples of late ancient Christian interpretation of its intriguing visions. It also includes a comprehensive introduction to each text by its respective translator. Brief Explanations of the Apocalypse by Cassiodorus (c. 580), translated by Francis X. Gumerlock from Latin and published in English for the first time in this volume, served as an introduction to the Book of Revelation for Cassiodorus’s students at the Vivarium, a monastery in southern Italy. Cassiodorus divided the Apocalypse into 33 sections, corresponding to the age of Jesus at his Passion, and expressed his belief that John’s visions were revelations of the end of the world, including the Second Coming of Christ for judgment, the defeat of the Antichrist, the general resurrection, and the arrival of the heavenly Kingdom. Testimonies of Gregory the Great on the Apocalypse, translated from Latin by Mark DelCogliano and also published here for the first time in English, is a collection of 55 excerpts on the Apocalypse from the writings of St. Gregory the Great (d. 604) compiled by an anonymous author. Drawn mainly from Gregory’s Moralia, but also from his Book on Pastoral Care and homilies, the excerpts, which are arranged from Revelation 1.4 to 22.17, illustrate Gregory’s grammatical exegesis of the Apocalypse, his interpretation of various figures in the Apocalypse, and his attempt to reconcile certain passages in the Apocalypse with seemingly contradictory texts from other parts of Scripture. The anonymous Greek Scholia on the Apocalypse contains 39 exegetical notes on chapters 1-14 of the Apocalypse, which reveal influences of Origen and Didymus the Blind, among others. The notes provide “spiritual” interpretations of the various passages and give attention to the interpretation of certain words that appear in the Book of Revelation. This new translation from the Greek by T. C. Schmidt utilizes all the Greek editions. Furthermore, its introductory matter contains updates on the Scholia from the latest scholarship and compares each scholion with interpretations found in various patristic authors, mainly of Alexandrian heritage.