De-Apocalypticizing the Differences and the End of History


Yuri Stoyanov


This paper intends to explore the deep historical roots of the mutually exclusivist and secondary apocalypticizing interpretations of the differences between the three Abrahamic religions (which are not part of their scriptural traditions) and the reasons why they have been exploited so often in the past and nowadays by political and clerical elites to serve explicit political agendas. It will confront what seems to be one of the major dilemmas of the current inter-civilizational and inter-religious dialogue: is it possible to maintain the dignity and relevance of this dialogue without de-apocalypticizing the differences between the three Abrahamic faiths and the resultant clashing religio-political paradigms regarding the end of history.


Yuri Stoyanov is a Research Fellow at the Department of the Near and Middle East, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London and Senior Associate Fellow at the Albright Institute of Archaeological Research, Jerusalem. Between 2006 and 2008 he was Director of the British Academy’s Kenyon Institute (formerly British Institute of Archaeology in Jerusalem).  He has written extensively on the interaction between the theologies and soteriologies of Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Christianity and Islam as well as the persisting interchanges between some of their heterodox and apocalyptic trends and their significance for far-reaching contemporary religio-political attitudes and developments. His current research interests and work in progress include the impact of East Christian apocalypticism and eschatology on medieval Christian attitudes to and conduct of war against external and internal religious adversaries (and thus on the theory and practice of medieval and early modern theory and practice of religious war) and the interrelations between apocalypticism and violence.

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