Stephen J. C. Andes
Revolution divided Roman Catholics during the twentieth century in Latin America. Although Catholic activists formed ranks on all sides of Latin America’s social conflict, revolutionary anticlericalism, land reform, and state education became important wedge issues that kept the Catholic Church hierarchy on the side of counterrevolution. This chapter surveys Latin America’s “Big Three” social revolutions, beginning with Mexico (1910–1940), Cuba at mid-century, and Nicaragua in the late 1970s and 1980s. Catholic political and social allegiances, as well as the similarities across the century provide the focus of much of the chapter. The chapter argues that Latin America’s Cold War added ideological pungency and superpower conflicts to the region’s already festering mix of social exclusion, poverty, and oligarchical hegemony. Some attention is given to the emergence of the liberationist perspective. The result of Latin America’s revolutionary century can be seen in a shift within the moderate group of Catholic leadership, both lay and clerical, toward a more empathetic view of the poor. The development of Liberation Theology, endeavouring to answer endemic issues of poverty and economic inequality, helped focus the Church’s mission in the region after the Second Vatican Council. The chapter ends with a final parting note regarding the election of Pope Francis and how Latin America’s first pope was formed within the region’s revolutionary twentieth century.
Stephen H. Webb
No theologian has done more to show the political significance of eschatology than Jürgen Moltmann. For Moltmann, the subject matter of all theology should be focused on hope, and eschatology is the doctrine where Christian hope is most explicitly formulated. Moreover, Moltmann thinks that hope, more than love, is the Christian virtue most relevant for politics. If God intervenes at the end of history in order to silence all of our struggles and passions, then history is rendered meaningless. Moltmann identifies this catastrophic version of eschatology with apocalypticism. Moltmann did not repudiate liberation theology's advocacy of socialism as the primary means for advancing the kingdom agenda. In The Coming of God, Moltmann clarified his distinction between eschatology and apocalypticism by addressing the issue of millennialism. This article examines eschatology and politics, focusing on the views of Moltmann and the alternative views of George Weigel, Wolfhart Pannenberg, and Oliver O'Donovan. It also discusses providence versus eschatology and Whittaker Chambers's views on the eschatological challenge of Communism, as well as the politics of progressive premillennialism.
This article begins in the early Middle Ages, and specifically addresses questions concerning the economic and political situation of Jewry in Western Europe. The period of the high Middle Ages follows, with a focus on developments in community life and the character of Jewish society. The discussion considers the Jewish foundation myths that were born in the twelfth century in an attempt to explain and interpret the social and cultural changes of the time. It examines the nature of the interaction and the form of discourse that characterized the medieval relations between a Christian majority and a Jewish minority culture. It also describes the legal status of the Jews in Western Europe and the Byzantine Empire. The article also discusses Jewish life in Spain, since, for a significant segment of the period under study, Spain was under Muslim rule.
The Rastafari of Jamaica represents the main millennial force in the Caribbean, which derives its impetus from European racism. This article deals with the advent of the Rastafari movement in the Caribbean, emerging around the theme of the repatriation of colored people to their original home: Africa. The prophetic parallel drawn between the coronations of Ras Tafari as the Emperor Haile Selassie (1930) and a mention of the event in crowning of the king and queen of Africa (1928), penned by Marcus Mosiah Garvey, intensified the aspirations for repatriation. The Rastafari movement began under the leadership of Leonard Howell, the man who proliferated the prophetic connection, proclaiming Selassie to be the messiah. A militant faction, the Youth Black Faith, incorporated the defining attributes of the Rastafarian—the dreadlocks, the coconut vessel, and the herbal diets. Although millennialist, the movement was far more institutionalized, engaging the state, society, and other counterparts, and had an expressly defined objective.
W. Michael Ashcraft
Millennial optimism finds its expression in the progressive brand. It believes in a “changed” world wherein everything is in their ideal state. It is not expressly non-violent or in any way, God forsaking. The “ideal” world also envisions a purging of adversaries and a divine hand behind every occurrence. This article concerns progressive millennialism that came by the way of English Puritanism, when people refused to accept whatever was fed to them in the name of religion and resorted to “scientific assertion” of divine ways. It reflects a curious combination of science and divinity. The discovery of America added impetus by facilitating reform of the Anglican Church and hence, progressive millennialism. The revolutionary period witnessed both progressive and catastrophic millennialism, the former wrought in the hope of newfound independence and the latter, anticipating British retribution and the conclusion of the French Revolution and the post-civil war period, millennialism became instrumental in the proliferation of global Christianity and American interventionist worldview.
Repeated defeats at the hands of the Romans and the subsequent pan-European migration made the Jewish people pragmatic and their religion, rid off radical traits, with the exception of rare, obscure flares. Nevertheless, the painful memories and the hope of a holistic redemption always maintained presence in the Jewish psyche, waiting for the opportune moment to flare up. The resigned postmillennialism and rational, secular, European Jewish philosophy was content with the creation of Israel on the lost land. The subsequent turmoil, and the perpetual war footing of Israel reoriented the new generation of Jews in a catastrophic millennialism and radical ideas of redemption, inspired by the permanently belligerent milieu of its existence. It facilitated a tendency to aspire for a messianic age. Fascinated by prospects of a Jewish commonwealth and rebuilding of the temple on Mount Zion, the conservative Protestants have been funding the radical Jewish cause.
This chapter investigates the theological justifications for violence within the sources of the Christian traditions, and also reports the symbolic representations of violence in the history of the tradition. It then presents a consideration of some specific issues that have provoked Christian people, to condone or even resort to violence while believing themselves faithful to Christian teachings and values. The chapter introduces the theological justifications of St. Paul, Jesus of Nazareth, just war, Crusades, inquisition and heresy trials, and missionary movements. Christian people have acted in ways opposed to violence, and have also warranted violence over the centuries by referring to scripture and by developing theological interpretations. Additionally, they preserve connection to its history of involvement of violence in a variety of symbols, rites, and rituals. In general, Christian people are moral agents who have to make decisions about how to act and how to act religiously.
This article examines the roles of the Serbian Orthodox Church, the Catholic Church in Croatia, and the Islamic religious authority of Bosnia and Herzegovina in the 1991–1995 war inWestern Balkans. Religion in this case has been instrumental as a factor for galvanizing conflict and rationalizing its outcomes. The article also notes religious activities aimed at preventing violence and healing postconflict societies. The public influence of these religions began during the collapse of socialist Yugoslavia. Through the war and afterward, religions continued rebuilding resources and increasing influence. Traditional religion was blended with the new national ideologies carried out by ethnic nationalist parties allied with the ethnic majority churches established as state religions. Two decades after the Balkan war, the growing influence of these religions in public sphere coincides with the post-Yugoslav new ethnic nations’ failures in state building and democratic transition.