The Paranoid Apocalypse: A Hundred Year Retrospective on The Protocols of the Elders of Zion
The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, first published in Russia around 1905, claimed to be the captured secret protocols from the first Zionist Congress in Basel in 1897 describing a plan by the Jewish people to achieve global domination. While the document has been proven to be fake, much of it plagiarized from satirical anti-Semitic texts, it had a major impact throughout Europe during the first half of the 20th century, particularly in Germany. After World War II, the text was further denounced. Anyone who referred to it as a genuine document was seen as an ignorant hate-monger.
Yet there is abundant evidence that The Protocols is resurfacing in many places. The Paranoid Apocalypse re-examines the text’s popularity, investigating why it has persisted, as well as larger questions about the success of conspiracy theories even in the face of claims that they are blatantly counterfactual and irrational. It considers the medieval pre-history of The Protocols, the conditions of its success in the era of early twentieth-century secular modernity, and its post-Holocaust avatars, from the Muslim world to Walmart and Left-wing anti-American radicalism.
Contributors argue that the key to The Protocols’ longevity is an apocalyptic paranoia that lays the groundwork not only for the myth’s popularity, but for its implementation as a vehicle for genocide and other brutal acts.
1) Introduction (Landes and Katz)
Conceptual Prelude: On Paranoid Politics and Apocalyptic Violence
2) Richard Landes, “The Paranoid Imperative and the Political Logic of the Protocols”
3) Charles Strozier, “The Apocalyptic Other: On Paranoia and Violence”
Medieval Prologue: Cosmic Christian Anxiety and Global Modern Paranoia
4) Jeffrey Woolf, “The Devil’s Hoofs: The Medieval Roots of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion”
5) Johannes Heil, Thomas of Monmouth and the ”Protocols of the Sages of Narbonne”
The Early Years: The Apocalyptic Matrix of Genesis and Launch
6) Michael Hagemeister: “The Antichrist as an Imminent Political Possibility”:
Sergei Nilus and the apocalyptical reading of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion
7) Jeffrey Mehlman, Protocols of the Elders of Zion: Thoughts on the French Connection
8) Paul Zawadski, “Jewish World Conspiracy” and the Question of Secular Religions
9) David Redles, “The Turning Point: The Protocols of the Elders of Zion and the Eschatological War Between Aryans and Jews”
Post-Holocaust Protocols: Non-Western Variations
10) David Goodman, “The Protocols in Japan”
11) Itamar Marcus and Barbara Crook, “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion: An authentic document in Palestinian Authority ideology”
Protocols at the Turn of the Millennium: The Return of the Repressed
12) Michael Barkun, “Anti-Semitism from Outer Space: The Protocols in the UFO Subculture”
13) Deborah Lipstadt, “The Protocols Of The Elders Of Zion on the Contemporary American Scene: Historical Artifact or Current Threat?”
14) Chip Berlet, “Protocols to the Left, Protocols to the Right: Conspiracism in American Political Discourse at the Turn of the Second Millennium
Quo Vadis? How to Respond to the Return of the Protocols
15) Stephen Bronner, “Conspiracy Then and Now: History, Politics, and the Anti-Semitic Imagination”
16) Richard Landes, “Jewish Self-Criticism, Progressive Moral Schadenfreude and the Suicide of Reason: Reflections on the Protocols in the ‘Postmodern’ Era”
“The introduction is indeed a tour de force, full of strong opinions expressed by the authors in a lively and often provocative style that combines the latest in post-postmodern critical thinking with common sense analysis. Some scholarly readers might react with dismay, but I think - and I am sure many readers will agree - that the statements for the most part are not only stimulating but indeed necessary for opening up a new debate on the subject of the "New Antisemitism's" demonization of Israel which is so often discussed in hackneyed and stultifyingly mealy-mouthed terms. The provocations offered here may jolt some overly-complacent readers into actually thinking anew instead of repeating the usual idees reçues. Readers may not in the end agree, but they will have a thrilling intellectual ride… In summary, this is a path-breaking collection that not only advances our historical understanding of the Protocols but is also targeted to provoke political debate. I don't think I've "enjoyed" reading an historical-political work so much since the often wrong-headed and even perverse writings of Hannah Arendt. I recommend most enthusiastically the publication of the work substantially as is.”
Essays on the Peace of God : the church and the people in eleventh-century France
During the dissolution of the former Carolingian Empire, warfare and plunder seemed to contemporaries to go unchecked. An innovative response to this violence was the Church-led initiative known as the Peace of God, perhaps history's earliest mass peace movement. In the thirteen essays collected here, leading scholars consider key aspects of the movement and episodes in its history.
Elisabeth Magnou Nortier
Christian Lauranson Rosaz
The apocalyptic year 1000: religious expectation and social change, 950-1050
The chapters in this book challenge prevailing views on the way in which apocalyptic concerns contributed to larger processes of social change at the first millennium. Several basic questions unify the chapters: What chronological and theological assumptions underlay apocalyptic and millennial speculations around the Year 1000? How broadly disseminated were those speculations? Can we speak of a mentality of apocalyptic hopes and anxieties on the eve of the millennium? If so, how did authorities respond to or even contribute to the formation of this mentality? What were the social ramifications of apocalyptic hopes and anxieties, and of any efforts to suppress or redirect the more radical impulses that bred them? How did contemporaries conceptualize and then historicize the passing of the millennial date of 1000?
Susan E. von Daum Tholl
David Van Meter
Encyclopedia of millennialism and millennial movements
The Encyclopedia of Millennialism and Millennial Movements is the first volume in the Religion & Society series designed to offer exciting coverage to students, general readers and scholars. It covers 200 topics and movements - from Cargo Cults to the Anti-Christ - supplemented by illustrations and extracts of primary source material. The volume is comprehensive, authoritative, up-to-date, cross-cultural, interdisciplinary, and multi-dimensional and will offer a fresh, modern perspective on the role and importance of religion in society.
Compiled with the help of the Center for Millennial Studies at Boston University, the central theme of this volume is that millennialism is not a fringe activity but an important aspect of the human experience, past and present and across cultures.
Concordia Theological Quarterly: Spring 2001
An outstanding resource with a sweeping scope....This fine [editorial] team brings a wealth of scholarly research and writing experience to the task....should prove to be an extremely helpful resource to pastors in the parish. –Concordia Theological Quarterly, Vol. 65:2, Spring 2001
Choice: February 2001
Factual and evenhanded in [the] treatment of subjects that badly need these qualities. Highly recommended.
American Reference Books Annual: December 2000
"This book is not only about the argument over whether the new century begins on 2000 or 2001, it is also about matters that loom both large and small. According to the introduction, it is a “guide to the religious or spiritual social movements” that have promised utopia or at least a new and better world. Whether these are chiliastic movements, cults, nativistic cliques or what have you, if they attempted to forge in the crucible of want or the cornucopia of prosperity a brave new world, they are described in the volume. Given the wide spectrum in this century, from Bolshevism to Nazism and Communism, this fills a very important niche… All libraries will want to have this valuable and useful volume."
Booklist: January 2001
"This volume is part of the Routledge series Religion and Society. Editor Landes, an associate professor of medieval history at Boston University and director of the famed Center for Millennial Studies, is the author of such influential titles as Relics, Apocalypse, and the Deceits of History (1995) and a pioneer researcher in the emerging area of millennial studies. Included in the list of 65 contributors are people the stature of J. Gordon Melton, editor of The Encyclopedia of American Religions (Gale, 6th ed, 1999). A guide to the spiritual and social movements that have promised to create a better world or usher in a new one, the encyclopedia is an alphabetical listing of some 200 signed entries, including descriptions of specific movements (Heaven's Gate), conceptual and theoretical terms (Utopia), theological concerns (Defilement), and general topics (Women). Equal consideration is given to Western and non-Western movements, from both a historical and contemporary perspective. Most entries are several pages long and conclude with sometimes lengthy bibliographies. See also references abound, linking events to concepts. The text is illustrated and selectively provides excerpts of primary-so9urce material, such as scriptures, newspaper articles, tracts, and Web sites salient to the respective article. Information is quite current, with excellent articles on Y2K and Year 2000 celebrations as examples of contemporary millennial thinking and practice. This unique encyclopedia presents an inclusive summary of millennialism on the advent of the third millennium and is recommended for large public and academic libraries."
Gale Group - Reference Reviews: April 2001
"This new encyclopedia on the influence of millenial thought on history and contemporary world is the inaugural volume of a new series from the Great Barrington, Massachusetts-based Berkshire Reference Works. Edited by anthropologist David Levinson, the series takes a fresh look at the relationship of religion and society. The term millenium derives from New Testament writings that predict the second coming of Jesus and his thousand year rule on earth. Historically speaking, while all millenial movements are not necessarily Christian in origin, they do tend to promise the creation of a new and better world through some spriritual or supernatural means. When American presidents can speak of the "evil empire" and "the new world order," there is no denying the influence of millenial thought. Thus, Richard Landes and his 64 contributing scholars find connection between such ideas as the Rapture of the End of Days and science fiction and environmentalism. The entry on Millenialism in the Western World serves as the primary introduction and overview, while 138 other articles trace the influence of milennial thought in everything from China's Taiping Rebellion, Native American Ghost Dances and Pacific cargo cults to witch hunts, the Holocauts and the Y2K scare. Although survivalists, Heaven's Gate, Branch Davidians and UFO cults are not mainstream movements, other millennial groups from the Pilgrim fathers and Shakers to Moromons and Jehova's Witnesses are an established or growing part of the American culture. This eye-opening look at religious history and society is highly recommended for academic and public libraries." -- John R. M. Lawrence
Relics, apocalypse, and the deceits of history: Ademar of Chabannes, 989-1034
This unusual biographical work traces the life and career of Ademar of Chabannes, a monk, historian, liturgist, and hagiographer who lived at the turn of the first Christian millennium. Thanks to the unique collection of over one thousand folios of autograph manuscript that Ademar left behind, Richard Landes has been able to reconstruct in great detail the development of Ademar's career and the events of his day, and to suggest several major revisions in the general picture held by current medieval historiography.
Above all, the author's research confirms and elaborates the realization (first articulated over sixty years ago by the historian Louis Saltet) that in 1029 Ademar suffered a humiliating defeat at the height of his career and spent his final five years feverishly producing a dossier of forgeries and fictions about his own contemporaries that has few parallels in the annals on medieval forgery. Not only did that dossier of forgeries succeed in misleading historians from the twelfth century right up to the twentieth, but few historians have been willing to explore the implications of so striking a revision in Ademar's biography. Richard Landes is the first to systematically examine the evidence and the implications for our understanding of the period, and he offers an explanation of how these remarkable developments might have occurred.
--Marcus Bull (English Historical Review [UK] )
On August 3, 1029, Ademar of Chabannes suffered a humiliating defeat when his plans for a triumphal procession of the relics of St. Martial and the chanting of his new liturgy in Martial's honor turned into a fiasco. He spent the next five years writing forgeries and fictions about his contemporaries which have misled historians up to the 20th century. He left behind more than 1,000 folios of manuscripts. This account by Professor Landes of Boston University sheds new light on the cult of saints, apocalypticism, scriptoria and their manuscripts, and historiography. (Theology Digest )
A brilliant work which synthesizes the immense technical skills Landes has acquired with his talent as an historian. Because Ademar left so many manuscripts in so many fields of endeavor and because he was so thoroughly a part of the major historical movements in Aquitaine during the first third of the eleventh century, Landes is able to break new ground in a methodological sense with regard to the writing of various aspects of the social and religious history of the French kingdom in pre-Crusade Europe. Particular emphasis here is given to popular religion, the peace movement, apocalyptic thought and social patterns. Relics, Apocalypse, and the Deceits of History, moreover, is at once an intellectual biography, a personal biography, and a social history. Thus, Ademar the man, Ademar the monk, Ademar the scholar, Ademar the Christian, and Ademar the public figure are all thoroughly integrated in Landes' remarkable study.
--Bernard S. Bachrach, University of Minnesota
Landes convinced me without any qualms of the importance of his approach. He is absolutely right to stress the importance of Ademar's corpus, substantial portions of it autograph. It is not just that Ademar is an important source for our writing and history. As Landes says, the fact that Ademar wrote and revised so much allows us to see into the creative process of a single man who lived at a watershed. We can see into his mind. And because Ademar was tortured and flawed, we have, as Landes also points out in a wonderful phrase, 'the autograph record of a man going mad.' Uncommon enough for any period, this is a motherlode for the middle ages.
--Geoffrey Koziol, University of California at Berkeley
Relics, Apocalypse, and the Deceits of History is an intelligent and imaginative study of an author who accounts for a large proportion of the surviving narrative sources for Aquitaine in the first third of the eleventh century and is consequently central to our understanding of important movements such as the Peace of God, pilgrimage, and the cult of saints…This is an ambitious, original, methodologically exciting, and closely argued work of great interest.
--Marcus Bull (English Historical Review )