The Apocalypse in Germany
by Klaus Vondung
translated by Stephen D. Ricks
University of Missouri Press, 2001
eISBN: 978-0-8262-6372-8 | Cloth: 978-0-8262-1292-4
Library of Congress Classification DD97.V6613 2000
Dewey Decimal Classification 943.001


Originally published in German in 1988, The Apocalypse in Germany is now available for the first time in English. A fitting subject for the dawn of the new millennium, the apocalypse has intrigued humanity for the last two thousand years, serving as both a fascinating vision of redemption and a profound threat.

A cross-disciplinary study, The Apocalypse in Germany analyzes fundamental aspects of the apocalypse as a religious, political, and aesthetic phenomenon. Author Klaus Vondung draws from religious, philosophical, and political texts, as well as works of art and literature. Using classic Jewish and Christian apocalyptic texts as symbolic and historical paradigms, Vondung determines the structural characteristics and the typical images of the apocalyptic worldview. He clarifies the relationship between apocalyptic visions and utopian speculations and explores the question of whether modern apocalypses can be viewed as secularizations of the Judeo-Christian models.

Examining sources from the eighteenth century to the present, Vondung considers the origins of German nationalism, World War I, National Socialism, and the apocalyptic tendencies in Marxism as well as German literature—from the fin de siècle to postmodernism. His analysis of the existential dimension of the apocalypse explores the circumstances under which particular individuals become apocalyptic visionaries and explains why the apocalyptic tradition is so prevalent in Germany.

The Apocalypse in Germany offers an interdisciplinary perspective that will appeal to a broad audience. This book will also be of value to readers with an interest in German studies, as it clarifies the riddles of Germany's turbulent history and examines the profile of German culture, particularly in the past century.

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