Apocalypse Without God: Apocalyptic Thought, Ideal Politics, and the Limits of Utopian Hope

New York: Cambridge University Press (2022)
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Abstract

Apocalypse, it seems, is everywhere. Preachers with vast followings proclaim the world's end and apocalyptic fears grip even the non-religious amid climate change, pandemics, and threats of nuclear war. But as these ideas pervade popular discourse, grasping their logic remains elusive. Ben Jones argues that we can gain insight into apocalyptic thought through secular thinkers. He starts with a puzzle: Why would secular thinkers draw on Christian apocalyptic beliefs--often dismissed as bizarre--to interpret politics? The apocalyptic tradition proves appealing in part because it theorizes a special relation between crisis and utopia. Apocalyptic thought points to crisis as the vehicle to bring the previously impossible within reach, thus offering apparent resources for navigating challenges in ideal theory, which tries to imagine the best and most just society. By examining apocalyptic thought's appeal and risks, this study arrives at new insights on the limits of ideal theory and utopian hope.

Author's Profile

Ben Jones
Pennsylvania State University

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