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January 24, 2007


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cynic librarian

Jodi, I am glad that you are tracking these articles and this issue in particular. What is unique about the Bush Xtians is that they are using the mythology of apocalypse to support a conservative/reactionary ideology.

As many biblical scholars will tell you this has not been true in the past--apocalyptic movements and the genre itself have referred to and emanated from the socially marginalized and dispossessed.

In my recent reading projects, I have also come across this idea within British politics and American colonial politics. That is, as JGA Pocock has shown, millenarian groups were those who were at the forefront of secularization, as well as the egalitarian-oriented movement of republicanism.

The Busybody blog is doing some interesting things around questions of this sort: s/he's at http://lorenrosson.blogspot.com/ .

You might also wish to check out Mark Goodacre's blog and this posting on Paul and apocalyptic: http://ntgateway.com/weblog/2007/01/jew-and-greek-in-christ.html

I regret that my replies to your posting on these subjects have been sporadic. Limited access to the web as well job responsibilities have conspired to keep me from blogging as much as I used to.

cynic librarian

PS There's also this interesting page with many good links at the Religions of the Ancient Mediterranean blog: http://www.philipharland.com/Blog/2007/01/21/visions-of-the-end-where-did-they-come-from-end-11/


Apocalyptic mythology has always been around in virtually all cultures and all human traditions in some form or another. In modern times, it plays a distinct role within the political spectrum and colors most political propaganda/debate in some way. Issues like global warming and peak oil come to mind. Apocalyptic thinking is also an important part of much modern warfare, particularly as it relates to securing mass support for the war du jour.

Christian zionism as related to Israel is slightly different, though, as it is decidely eschtalogical (as opposed to apocalyptic) in its emphasis on the fulfillment of Biblical prophecy. Perhaps not a terribly urgent distinction, but worth noting nonetheless. Further, the eschtalogical piece is something which Hagee and many strains within the Evangelical camp heavily emphasize in favor of Zionism. The entire concept of Christian Zionism is a fascinating development, as it is almost strictly political and has really gained a great deal of steam in the past several decades or so. Given the specific purpose that the Evangelical Christian movement fulfills politically, it would be interesting to further dig into the roots of this modern phenomenon.

cynic librarian

Jeanette, Without getting too bogged down in terminology, eschatology relates to anything dealing with ultimate things, such as life after death and so on. Apocalyptic is related to end times and history and the role that the divine or transcendent plays in bringing that about.

Your separation of political and religious seems unwarranted. Many of the intertestamental apocalypses have politico-religious ramifications. Seeing that the Xtian Zionists use a political message is nothing new, therefore. As I remarked to Jodi earlier, there have been politico-relious movements of apocalypsticists from those times and throughout Xtian, Jewish, and Islamic history.

Pocock, for example, notes the political ramifications of Savonarola's apocalypticism, as well as this dimension in English and American revolutionary periods. Pocock makes some interesting comments on how apcalyptic changes one's relationship to time and sees time.

For Pocock, what happened in Savonarolan Florence, for example, was that the apocalyptic message brought time down to earth--so to speak--giving the believers that they had a direct role in the outcome of history. This opposed the Augustinian conception of time and the two kingdoms, since in that framework the two worlds did not intersect except at the end of time, which God was in control of and which humans had no role to play.

I am sorry if this seems a bit rough and unhewn but I am close to the start of my job.


This article reminds me of the same fear-mongering hogwash I keep hearing from right wing pundits like Limbaugh. Propaganda like this is meant to stir up the left-wing base and it is no different from the Rovian tactics used to mobilize the christian-right in 2004. Your obsession with Christian Zionism indicates a closeted desire to see a confrontation between your enemies. This is a sick proposition. Its no wonder that the majority of Americans choose not to subscribe to this provinical and hateful ideology.


good subject. the zionist pastors.

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