Vision and violence /

Main Author: Mendel, Arthur P.
Format: Book
Language: English
Published: Ann Arbor : University of Michigan Press, c1992.
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Review by Choice Review

Mendel opens and closes his work with a description of what he calls Jewish gradualism, which sees the world (including human nature) as essentially good, though in need of "repair." Over against that view he sets biblical apocalypticism. In doing so he utilizes Jewish versus Greek, Jewish versus Christian, and Rabbinic versus apocalyptic dichotomies, which surely must be viewed with suspicion. Next Mendel traces the rise of violence within apocalypticism, seeing it as the logical development of the movement. Then he brands as apocalyptic other revolutionary movements, from the Munsterites to the Jacobins to Marxism to Fascism to the hippies of the '60s and '70s to the fundamentalists of the '80s. His basic argument is that they all arise from oppression and have a view of its violent end; hence, they are variations on one theme. In Chapter 7, for example, he lumps together people as diverse as Ronald Reagan, Jurgen Moltmann, Teilhard de Chardin, and Jim Jones (of Guyana). He explicitly asks whether he is justified in calling Lenin (p. 175) and Naziism (p. 218) apocalyptic and answers in the affirmative. Mendel even sees more differences among Marxists in Russia than between Lenin and the theistic, pacifistic author of the book of Daniel! Graduate; faculty. P. L. Redditt; Georgetown College

Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.