Santa Clara University
Religious Studies Department, SCU
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  Course Description

This course explores characteristic themes in apocalyptic literature and theories about the social origins of apocalyptic movements.  Each unit of the course takes a classic text of ancient Jewish or Christian apocalyptic literature and pairs it with a contemporary "text" (book, movie, event or social movement).   The interplay of ancient and modern texts allows questions and issues from the one to inform our inquiry into the other.  Questions we will address include: Why do people turn to ancient texts in contemporary crises?   Does apocalyptic function to justify violence?  What are the chief apocalyptic, millennial and/or messianic scripts in Islam, Christianity and Judaism?  What constellations of social and historical factors combine to create apocalyptic groups?  How does the classic literature affect interpretations of time and meaning?   What are the implications of the fact that different communities interpret this literature in vastly different ways?

How to Use this Web Site

The tabs at the left guide you to course resources.  Use them to access directions, schedules, research tools and grades throughout the quarter, as needed.  The Class Prep pages provide introductions to each day's readings and questions you will be expected to prepare in advance of each class, along with occasional exercises that will reinforce in-class work and prepare you for your synthesis papers.
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