This course explores characteristic themes in apocalyptic literature
and theories about the social origins of apocalyptic movements. Each
unit of the course takes a classic text of ancient Jewish or Christian
apocalyptic literature and pairs it with a contemporary "text"
(book, movie, event or social movement). The interplay
of ancient and modern texts allows questions and issues from the
one to inform our inquiry into the other. Questions
we will address include: Why do people turn to ancient texts in
contemporary crises? Does apocalyptic function to
justify violence? What are the chief apocalyptic, millennial
and/or messianic scripts in Islam, Christianity and Judaism? What
constellations of social and historical factors combine to create
apocalyptic groups? How does the classic literature
affect interpretations of time and meaning? What are
the implications of the fact that different communities interpret
this literature in vastly different ways?
How to Use this
at the left guide you to course resources. Use them to
access directions, schedules, research tools and grades throughout
the quarter, as needed. The Class Prep pages provide introductions
to each day's readings and questions you will be expected to prepare
in advance of each class, along with occasional exercises that will
reinforce in-class work and prepare you for your synthesis papers.