Religious Origins of Modern Radicalism

Author: Eisenstadt, S. N.

Source: Theoria, Volume 52, Number 106, April 2005 , pp. 51-80(30)

Publisher: Berghahn Journals

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Abstract:

It is the major argument of this essay that the roots of modern Jacobinism in their different manifestations are to be found in the transformation of the visions with strong Gnostic components and which sought to bring the Kingdom of God to earth and which were often promulgated in medieval and early modern European Christianity by different heterodox sects. The transformation of these visions as it took place above all in the Great Revolutions, in the English Civil War and especially the American and French Revolutions and their aftermaths, entailed their transposition from relatively marginal sectors of society to the central political arena. From then on, these visions, especially in their various collectivistic, especially Jacobin, guises became a continual component of the modern political discourse and dynamics, in continual confrontation with more 'open' pluralistic visions.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3167/004058105780929291

Publication date: April 1, 2005

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