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CALL. 20.03.2019: [PANEL 4] Apocalypse Now: Apocalyptic Reception and Impact Throughout History (SBL




LUGAR/LOCATION/LUOGO: San Diego Convention Center (San Diego, CA, USA)

ORGANIZADOR/ORGANIZER/ORGANIZZATORE: Ana Travassos Valdez; Bert Jan Lietaert Peerbolte

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Apocalypse Now is conceived as an interdisciplinary research group aiming to analyse the effective history of biblical and related apocalyptic literature (Daniel, Revelation, Enoch etc.) in the creation, establishment, and development of eschatological groups from antiquity to the present within the Abrahamic traditions, and in particular those of apocalyptic nature. It is of much interest to our work to observe how those groups developed networks of eschatological nature throughout history that can be found today at the basis of some social and political movements. By analysing in tandem the nature of the different groups over the centuries and how eschatological hope circulated among them at different moments, this research unit aims to foster and develop new interpretation theories that can lead to a better understanding of the use of apocalyptic expectations in the 21st century, and in particular, of the processes that led apocalypticism to take peaceful and/or violent forms. The primary objective of this research unit is to congregate colleagues from different fields of expertise – religion, history, literature, political science, anthropology, peace studies, et cetera – to further analyse concepts such as "apocalyptic," "apocalypticism," "messianism," and "millenarianism," and to discuss how the ancient uses of these phenomena can serve to understand movements of similar nature in the present. Besides, we propose to conduct this analysis taking into account how apocalyptic expectations were at the basis of the creation of eschatological networks that served either to bridge the religious divide as in the 17th century Atlantic world or to emphasise the divide between East and West as in the last decades. Studies on apocalyptic literature have been a constant since the 1970s, and are now experiencing a new revival that can be observed in the abundant literature published in the last years as in the several research units that explore this thematic at SBL. The question, however, of eschatological networks has not yet been fully explored although it is most probably a key factor to understand the contemporary interest behind apocalyptic narratives and its use to mobilise people to support radical movements promoting and spreading the use of violence. Apocalypse Now aims to add a new perspective on this topic to the work that has already been conducted by SBL units on eschatology in the broader sense in the last decades, such as Wisdom and Apocalypticism; Bible, myth, and myth theory; Book of Acts; Ethics and biblical interpretation; Gospel of Luke; Historical Jesus and The Qu'ran and the biblical tradition. Likewise, it complements the work led by some AAR units that discuss topics such as religion and violence and religion and peace studies. Consequently, this research unit proposes to analyse within the coming six years topics such as eschatologically motivated violence, Antichrist-like figures and its identification and politicisation, eschatological scenarios and landscape, religious tolerance and intolerance, the role of the "other" in apocalyptic thought, and the use of sacred narratives to legitimise violent apocalyptic interpretations. At the end of the six-year program, it is our goal to organise a concluding set of sessions aiming to re-evaluate concepts such as "apocalyptic," and "apocalypticism" in light of the discussion held during the previous years. In order to make the results of these studies fully available to the community, the outcome of the yearly seminars will be submitted to processes of peer-review and published under the aegis of a well-established publisher.

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