My book is off to OUP. At last!
Today I finally sent in my indexes and page proofs to Oxford University Press. I hope to be more attentive to this blog now that that deadline is off my shoulders. Thanks to the readers who are still with me, and to Fabian Pascal, who has kept this blog alive in my distraction.
Heaven on Earth
The Varieties of the Millennial Experience
ISBN13: 9780199753598ISBN10: 0199753598Hardback, 592 pages
Jun 2011, Not Yet Published
Millennialists through the ages have looked forward to the apocalyptic moment that will radically transform society into heaven on earth. They have delivered withering critiques of their own civilizations and promised both the impending annihilation to the forces of evil and the advent of a perfect society. And all their promises have invariably failed. We tend, therefore, to dismiss these prophets of doom and salvation as crackpots and madmen, and not surprisingly historians of our secular era have tended to underestimate their impact on our modern world. Now, Richard Landes offers a lucid and ground-breaking analysis of this widely misunderstood phenomenon.
This long-awaited study shows that many events typically regarded as secular–including the French Revolution, Marxism, Bolshevism, Nazism–not only contain key millennialist elements, but follow the apocalyptic curve of enthusiastic launch, disappointment and re-entry into “normal time.” Indeed, as Landes examines the explicit millennialism behind such recent events as the emergence of Global Jihad since 1979, he challenges the common notion that modern history is largely motivated by secular interests. By focusing on ten widely different case studies, none of which come from Judaism or Christianity, he shows that millennialism is not only a cultural universal, but also an extremely adaptive social phenomenon that persists across the modern and post-modern divides. At the same time, he also offers valuable insight into the social and psychological factors that drive such beliefs.
Ranging from ancient Egypt to modern-day UFO cults and global Jihad, Heaven on Earth both delivers an eye-opening revisionist argument for the significance of millennialism throughout history and alerts the reader to the alarming spread of these ideologies in our world today.
- Revisionist argument about the significance of millennialism throughout history
- Focuses on millennialism across many religious and supposedly secular groups, showing that the movement is not exclusive to Judaism and Christianity
- Chapters on Xhosa Cattle Slaying (1856-67), Cargo Cults, Pharaoh Akhenaten (1350 BCE), the Chinese Taiping (1850-64), UFOlogy, French Revolution, Marxism, Soviet Revolution, Nazism.
- Final Chapter on Global Jihad as an active, cataclysmic apocalyptic movement aiming at a hierarchical Millennium.
- Conclusion comparing Anthropogenic Global Warming with Global Jihad Warming as “empirically-based” apocalyptic prophecies for the 21st Century.
592 pages; 6-1/8 x 9-1/4;ISBN13: 978-0-19-975359-8ISBN10: 0-19-975359-8