The main goal of modern Jihadism – a cataclysmic apocalyptic movement – is Islam’s dominance over the world. It makes millennial claims, promising that once Islam rules everywhere, there will be world peace.
Jihad, as the millennial war, operates in modern times on two major levels. The first is that of outright violence. Its aggression emerges in most places where Muslim majorities share a border with another culture. The second level expresses itself in demopathy, or the invocation of civil society’s values to undermine that system from within.
Since its inception, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, an apocalyptic forgery about the final stages of a Jewish conspiracy to rule the world, has been the Judeophobe’s favored text. After World War II, among its most enthusiastic ‘believers’ have been Arab intellectuals and political elites.
- There is a significant overlap between the religious Hamas and the “secular” PLO in their use of apocalyptic rhetoric. Its characteristics include global conspiracy theory, total war, virulent anti-Semitism, contempt for human life, and child sacrifice.
Richard Landes teaches medieval history at Boston University. He explains that in monotheistic and modern cultures, apocalyptic thinking has often involved exterminationist anti-Semitism. Jihadism is the main contemporary example.
The Basics of Apocalyptic Thinking
Landes elaborates on the characteristics of apocalyptic thinking: “It means a belief that a cosmic transformation is imminent. The coming transformation of the world can take two forms. The first is that it will end entirely (eschatology). Alternatively, it can be the coming of the Messianic Age. This latter expectation is often called ‘millennialism’ (mille = 1000, anni = years) not because of the advent of a 1000-year marker like the year 2000, but because it promises a ‘thousand-year messianic kingdom’.
“In moderate forms, millennialism exists everywhere since most people have the hope that the world is going to fundamentally improve. But rarely do millennial beliefs become apocalyptic, sweep up groups, movements and whole populations in a frenzied belief that the millennium is now!
“Among believers in an imminent apocalyptic transformation, two major schools exist. The more common passive one says: ‘God will cause the transformation, which will lead to either the end of time or the earthly millennium.’ The activists claim: ‘we are God’s agents and have to bring about the apocalyptic transformation.’ When they believe that the apocalypse calls for cataclysmic destruction, they deem they can ‘save the world by destroying it.’ Often their first and most feared targets are Jews and Judaism.
“Hitler’s aim for a thousand year ‘Reich’ – a millennial kingdom – represented the quintessence of the most negative aspects of violent, apocalyptic action. Nazism exploded from a toxic cocktail of conspiracism, rage at a perceived humiliation of the German people, and complete contempt for human life, all the while using the discourse of the salvation of the Aryan race to win over converts. It could thereby inspire ‘modern’ people, capable of handling sophisticated technology, to engage in the most inhumane activities with a good conscience. The Holocaust was an apocalyptic deed.”
The Protocols of the Elders of Zion
“Some currents in both Christianity and Islam hold that Judaism represents a mortal enemy to their religion. These same people are particularly susceptible to cosmic conspiracy theories. The forgery The Protocols of the Elders of Zion describes a 3000-year-old conspiracy of the Jews to enslave mankind.
“The Protocols are a fabricated, imaginary report of the first Zionist Congress in 1897. Released in the opening years of the 20th century, they claimed to be the minutes of the Elders of Zion discussing their secret plan to enslave all mankind. It was published in 1905 with a preface by the Russian Orthodox mystic, Sergei Nilus, sounding an apocalyptic warning about the ravages of modernity and the advent of a Jewish Antichrist. Later, the Russian revolution in 1917 was interpreted by anti-Semites as a dramatic proof of the text’s authenticity – the plot had entered a still more open phase that climaxed with the Depression. No proofs of its forgery, no matter how telling, could silence this text.
“In appealing to apocalyptic fears of an imminent global battle between good and evil, the Protocols mobilized a total response. It inspired a willingness to sacrifice all to defeat the evil Jewish enemy. The main manipulators of this text have common characteristics. They aim for authoritarian power; they resort to violence whenever it suits them; and they seek to suppress all dissent. And if they think they can get away with it, they will enslave anyone else they can. In other words, they resemble the ‘Jews’ depicted in the Protocols. As Hitler screamed about Jewish plots to conquer the world and enslave mankind, he was hatching precisely those plans.
“Since its inception this has been the Judeophobe’s favored text. Norman Cohn called it the Nazi Warrant for Genocide.1 After World War II, among its most enthusiastic ‘believers’ have been Arab intellectuals and political elites. Those who believe in this forgery claim that the conspiracy, silent for millennia, is now about to burst into the open. Thus they must act ruthlessly against their merciless enemy, or be destroyed.”
The Zionist Movement
The Zionist movement was viewed by many gentiles as a sign of the Antichrist. Landes elucidates: “The apocalyptic anxiety provoked by Zionism in the form of the Protocols resembles most Christian and Muslim attitudes toward Jews in apocalyptic time. The Jews play a central role in both Christian and Muslim apocalyptic scenarios as the force of the Anti-Christ or the Dajjal.
“Many recurrent apocalyptic motifs about the Jews as world-conspirators trying to destroy the true religion can already be found in the Middle Ages. Whenever paranoid Christians thought it was the end of time, they gave the Jews the choice of conversion or death, as in the First Crusade.
“Rabbis emphasized the ‘three oaths’ of the exile to assure that any apocalyptic beliefs among Jews would be passive. Two of these oaths discouraged any active forms of messianic behavior – not to rebel against the gentile authorities and not to ‘go up on the wall’ i.e., to return to Israel collectively before the messiah comes.2 Jews could therefore keep a low profile and not provoke Gentile wrath at the messianic notions of redemption that they harbored.”
“A major change in perception occurred, however, when Christians – mostly Anglo-Christians – adopted a millennial scenario in which the Jews had to return to Zion in order for the apocalypse to come. As a result some Christians did not see the Jewish messianic desire to return to Israel as an act of the anti-Christ, but rather as one that promoted the second coming of Jesus. Christian Zionists looked favorably, even encouraged Jewish messianism. Balfour was such a millennial believer – called pre-millennial dispensationalist – with views similar to those current in today’s Protestant Zionist circles.
“Israeli independence triggered an extraordinary messianic reaction among some Christians. They saw Israel’s birth, later followed by the conquest of the territories – and Jerusalem! – in the Six Day War, as the ‘dawn of redemption,’ which would come in the days of those who witnessed these world-changing events. The vast ‘fundamentalist’ support for Israel comes ideologically (if not emotionally) from this (temporarily) philo-Judaic apocalyptic scenario.
“This shift in Christian millennial theology represents a degree of philo-Judaism never before seen among Christians at so popular a level, and has been reinforced in the last half century by guilt and remorse over the Holocaust, leading to the longest sustained period of Gentile philo-Judaism in history (1945-2000). Unfortunately, the historical record suggests that such philo-Judaism often triggers violent anti-Judaism as well. It may be that 2000 has marked the tipping point at which the forces of anti-Judaism have begun to gain the ascendant over the dominant philo-Judaic forces of the last half-century.”
“The normal dynamic of apocalyptic thinking is a zero-sum game, i.e., ‘I win, you lose’. One person’s messiah is another’s Anti-Christ. In normal time, this translates into theocratic imperialism – my religion is right because it has replaced yours, and the proof lies in my religion’s political dominion. Islam came into the world when the Jews were already a subject people, and Islamic theology had no place for politically independent Jews, especially not in the heart of Dar al Islam (the realm of Islam, where Muslim law rules). Many Muslims consider the sentiment of the Israeli national anthem – ‘to be a free people in our country’ – utterly inadmissible.
“When Muslims invoke the ‘golden age of Islamic tolerance,’ they mean an age when Muslims ruled over Jews. Medieval Muslims treated the Jews generally better than the Christians. Yet as with the Christians, their attitude toward Jews was basically the zero sum game of a triumphal monotheism. For Islam, as for Christianity, in order to ‘be right’ they had to have power. Their religion was ‘true’ because it dominated and subjected others. And in particular they were right because the Jews were wrong. In order for them to feel superior, Jews had to be visibly inferior. Dhimmilaws basically say: ‘for us to have honor, they must live in shame.’
“Thus the Jews’ permanent status in Islam openly asserted their inferiority, subjection and humiliation. They were dhimmi infidels, literally ‘protected’ from the choice of conversion or death, but living under a system of religious apartheid in which they could not bear witness in court, had to pay onerous head taxes, and faced systematic legal and cultural disadvantages.
“For Muslims, Zionism represented an unprecedented and unthinkably independent non-dhimmi Judaism. It arose in the heart of Dar al Islam and claimed an autonomous area within the Islamic empire. Zionism is, to many Muslims, a theological blasphemy.
“When first confronted with Zionism, some Muslims took a positive-sum approach and said: ‘these Jews offer us a path to modern knowledge independent of the Christians with whom we have been at war since our beginnings. My enemy’s enemy is my friend.’ But the politically overwhelming response was the zero-sum approach: ‘If the Jews are free in Dar al Islam, or still worse, if they rule over Muslims, Islam is dishonored.'”
Islamic Apocalyptic and Dates
“David Cook, a scholar at Rice University in Houston, is one of the few Islamists to study Muslim apocalyptic thinking. In his book, Studies in Muslim Apocalyptic,3 he analyzes the apocalyptic genealogy of Islam and tracks a variety of traditions that carry these beliefs forward despite their continual disappointment. One of these Muslim traditions, called the Mujaddid, holds that every hundred years, a religious ‘renewer’ is expected.4This is a code word for a Messianic figure. When he does not turn out to be the Messiah, people say that he was a ‘renewer’ who, even if he didn’t meet apocalyptic expectations, still revitalized the religion.
“In 1300 of the Hajj (1881/2) the ‘renewer’ was a messianic pretender, the Mahdi, who took over Khartoum and started a war against English imperialism. In 1400 (1979/80), Muslim apocalyptic thinking got a major boost when Khomeini took power in Iran. In the same year there was a violent messianic outbreak in Muslim Nigeria, while the Shiites in Lebanon had a candidate for the ‘renewer’ in the Imam Musa al Sadr of Lebanon.5
“Khomeini was for many a Messianic figure. In Iran, he gained the support of large numbers of secular people as well, allowing both fundamentalist millennialists and progressive ones to share a common hope. For a short time, Iranians were seized with the sense that their world would be fundamentally transformed. Khomeini played on that, but his program didn’t work. To the contrary, as so often happens with millennialism, the new culture cannot handle modernity, which calls for high levels of freedom. It resulted in Iran becoming more impoverished.
“Khomeini did for Muslims – even Sunnis – what Lenin did for Communists. No matter how bad the Sharia state, it served as a model of the possible. After Khomeini, apocalyptic Muslims could begin to imagine that Islam would eventually take over the whole world. The Taliban represent the first anti-modern Sunni millennial experiment.”
Arab Politics and Apocalypse
“Already around the 1948 and the 1967 wars, one finds the totalistic language of apocalyptic rhetoric among Arabs. Its essence can be summarized as: ‘We are going to wipe out this blasphemy of Israel. The massacre of the Jews will make Genghis Khan look tame.’ The Arab league, certain of its superiority, declared a total war on Israel in 1947.
“On a ‘secular’ level, one can view the reaction of the Arabs to Israel much as the European monarchies responded to the French revolution: they wanted to remove the offending democratic experiment, a malignant growth that threatened the ‘health’ of their authoritarian societies. On a cultural level, one can view it as the response of an honor-shame culture to a threat to its honor. Their military campaign, which was supposed to be a walkover, turned into a disaster. The defeat – Naqba or catastrophe – proved a cultural and religious humiliation, a loss of face on a scale and of an intensity that few outsiders can imagine.
“Arab political culture dealt with this self-induced catastrophe in a manner characteristic of movements that take the violent apocalyptic path. They blamed others for their failure – in this case the Zionist conspiracy and Western imperialism – and called for further Arab sacrifice in an effort to make good their losses.
“This meant a move from a zero-sum approach to a negative-sum approach, i.e. ‘if I lose, you must lose’. The Arabs vented their frustration on their own dhimmi Jews, driving many out in an outburst of ethnic cleansing. They also made dhimmis of the Palestinian refugees whom they imprisoned in camps to make them the visible wound, the reproach to Israel, and from which they could recruit the vanguard of haters for the next battle in their war of redemption.”
The New Apocalyptic Concept
“This policy reached a climax in the 1960s with Nasser leading the Arabs in another ‘final’ war with Israel. In the months before the conflict, huge crowds danced in the streets of Arab cities, anticipating the elimination of Israel. The staggering failure of that effort discredited ‘secular’ Arab nationalism for many, tipping the scales in favor of religious fundamentalism and – eventually, but not inevitably – led to an explicitly Islamic, apocalyptic reaction to the Jews which expressed itself as a cataclysmic millennialism.
“According to this teaching, Muslims stand at the brink of a glorious global victory for Islam and a devastating destruction of the West, starting with Israel. Then the world can enter the peaceful millennium of the global Dar al Islam. For many Muslims, Bin Laden is a central player in a cosmic battle between the warriors for truth against Satan’s agents in the world, i.e., the West and, in particular, the United States and Israel.
“These are recycled concepts from the time Islam originally spread. Then, Muslims thought that once they threw out the world’s bad governments – the Roman/Byzantine and Persian empires – God’s dominion would be everywhere. With this ideology, Muslims conquered and spread to half the world, from the Atlantic to the Pacific. However, modern times have treated Islam badly. In particular, from the time of Napoleon’s invasion of 1798-99, they have found their political – and now, despite all their oil wealth, economic – inferiority a source of great pain.
“The globalization movement of the late 20th century has made the inferiority all the more painful. Sub-Saharan Africa produces more manufactured goods than the Arab world. This humiliating position has also triggered revised millennial visions in the Muslim world. In this apocalyptic Muslim view, the West has produced the technology by which Islam will conquer it. And democracy has made it vulnerable. In Bin Laden’s utopian vision, Islamism – the part of Islam that has purified itself in recent times – will soon win the ultimate struggle against the secular materialistic West. The London-based Islamic website www.muhajiroun.com illustrates how the imperial expansion of Islam, from its origins, slides effortlessly into a celebration of 9-11.
“And Jerusalem is the center of the Muslim apocalyptic drama, the site of the Last Judgment. In one prophetic tradition or hadith, the Kaabah stone will come from Mecca to Jerusalem. Thus, for reasons of theology and honor – a kind of ‘honor-theology’ – Israel is the center of the global apocalyptic battle.”
Violence and Undermining Western Democracy
“Jihad operates on two major levels. The first is outright violence. Its aggression emerges in most places where Islam has a border with another culture. From Nigeria, on the Atlantic, across the sub-Saharan divide to Sudan, across Asia to the Pacific, Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand.
“Apocalyptic Jihad in the global era has intensified both the rhetoric and the action. It now emphasizes terrifying hadiths, in which the end marks a genocidal slaughter of Jews, when even the rocks and trees will call out ‘Oh Muslim, there is a Jew hiding behind me, come and kill him!’ Others include the Christians in the carnage, a theme common in the ‘secular’ nationalism of Arab riots in the pre-Zionist period: ‘First the Saturday people, then the Sunday people.’
“Lately, disturbing evidence suggests that the hadith that claims that at the end of time, every Muslim will have ‘a Jew or Christian to substitute for him in hell,’ has been interpreted to mean that every Muslim has a Jew – or a Christian – to kill in order to be saved. The Arab Muslim French youngster who slaughtered and mutilated a neighbor since childhood, a successful Jewish disc jockey, last winter, came up to his parents’ apartment with bloodied hands and said, ‘I’ve killed my Jew, I can go to Paradise.’6
“Jihad’s second level expresses itself where open violence will bring down an overpowering reaction in modern, largely Western, societies. Here the Jihadi, unable to fight openly, uses civil society’s language to undermine Western democracy from within; a process for which the expression demopathy has been coined.
“These radical Muslims usually do not tell the West that they aim for Jihad and want to eliminate their culture. They even avoid saying they want to destroy Israel. They hide this by saying to the West: ‘Help us deal with the Israelis who are being unfair to us.’ At the same time, the standards by which they claim Israel is unfair to them – e.g., collective punishment by destroying houses – have no resemblance to how Muslims treat each other or the Israelis. Arab rulers treat dissent ruthlessly, killing anyone they think resists their will. In one infamous example Syrian president Hafez El Assad wiped out at least 10,000 inhabitants of Hama because the Muslim Brotherhood had become too powerful. As for Israel, the very practice of martyr mass murder of Israeli civilians as retaliations represents the most heinous form of collective punishment – the random killing of innocent civilians.
“Two key elements characterize demopathy: first, the radical split between what demopaths invoke as moral behavior, and the way they behave; second the pervasive belief in conspiracy, the systematic projection of bad faith and ruthless intentions onto the ‘other.’ Saddam Hussein killed more Muslims than anyone else alive. But Muslims spew their hatred on Israel, which has killed fewer Palestinians over decades than Jordan’s King Hussein did in one month.
“In comparison to the physical harm that Christians – and Arab rulers – have done to Muslims, the Jews have done very little. The real Naqbainflicted by Israel is the catastrophic humiliation and unbearable blow to Arab and Islamic pride of defeat at the hand of an unworthy enemy. And they try and salvage that pride by imagining an international conspiracy against them.
“It is up to the West to detect their methods, and to press the apologists who pretend that these violent agendas do not exist, or subsist only in response to Israeli aggression. If the West does not begin to challenge Muslims and Arabs verbally along these fronts, it becomes increasingly vulnerable. Many people have trouble saying this explicitly because they are afraid of being called racists. ‘I am no racist,’ they seem to say; ‘I do not think the Arabs are so stupid as to think they can take over the whole world.’ They don’t really believe the Arabs will change and renounce ambitions of destroying Israel and imposing sharia on the world, so they pretend they have already given up such uncivilized goals.”
Revival of Apocalyptic Islam after 1400 (1979 CE)
“In the 1980s, Muslim apocalyptic discourse took a new turn. Whereas previously it had been very conservative, only compiling traditional hadithson the subject, it now borrowed ideas and techniques from the Western world – especially Protestant millennialism – including more sophisticated use of means of communication, such as glossy pamphlets and cassettes of sermons. It even picked up Western themes, such as flying saucers or Biblical texts, and quoted these in addition to the Koran and the hadith.
“The approach of the end of the Christian era’s second millennium also influenced the Muslim world. It expected the classic Muslim version of the Antichrist, the Dajjal, to arrive in 2000. He would be a Jew and control most of the world according to the procedures outlined in The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. In 2000, he would storm the Haram al Sharif and trample the Al Aqsa mosque. An apocalyptic war would follow where the Dajjal would lead the West and Israel against the Muslims. If one reads the descriptions in the Arab press of Sharon’s visit to the Temple Mount in September 2000, they match that expectation quite closely.
“The most depressing aspect of current Islamic apocalyptic thought is that all its variants of cataclysmic events will bring immense destruction and death. That is why so much apocalyptic thought in the Arab world – secular and religious – focuses on death and martyrdom that kills indiscriminately. They think that God wants them to visit the destruction on the Jews that the Hebrew prophets warned about. Current Muslim apocalyptic thinking gives no support to the notion that Islam is a religion of peace.”
2000: The Turning Year
Landes claims the year 2000 was a turning point. “The second Palestinian uprising can be considered the moment when Islamic apocalyptic discourse, which had evolved rapidly since 1980, went public. The shahid, the martyr became a central icon. The Palestinians successfully turned the 12-year-old Mohammed Al Dura into a martyr, the patron saint of both the Intifada and global Jihad. (Ironically by far the most likely reconstruction of the Al Dura affair is that the cameraman staged it, and – at least in the video footage of the government television station France2 – neither the boy nor the father were hit by bullets.)
“Whatever its source, the image of Mohammed Al Dura became the icon of an apocalyptic discourse about the genocidal Israelis. Through Al Jazeera – and the acquiescence of the Western Press – this drumbeat of apocalyptic war has reached the Arab public at an unprecedented level, paralyzing any effort at official or personal moderation.
“The growing apocalyptic urgency, especially enflamed by the second intifada, has produced suicide mass murders on an increasing scale from restaurants in Israel to the World Trade Center in New York, and now in several Islamic countries. These mass-murderers do not come from the despairing poor, but from profoundly discontented educated classes with millennial hopes. Like the Communists and the Nazis, they are at once highly ideological in their motivations, and they treat human life – including those of their own people – with absolute contempt.”
Openness on Genocidal Intentions
“On this subject the PLO’s rhetoric follows the religious lead from groups like Hamas. Arafat, in Arabic, uses the apocalyptic language of martyrdom and Jerusalem. If we want to understand why an organization like the Palestinian Authority can turn its educational and media capacities to the teaching of a cult of hatred and death, sacrificing their children to the Moloch of anti-Zionism, it helps to comprehend the apocalyptic framework of their perceptions.
“When the Nazis came to power, they started brainwashing German youth with Jewish conspiracy theories and promises that the Aryan race was to rule the world. Many dismiss the parallel to modern Jihadism, pointing to the much greater ‘effectiveness’ of the Nazis. However, in apocalyptic matters, the issue is not only whether one’s plan is possible – enthusiasts believe in big miracles – but also what are the consequences of one trying to make it work, no matter how unrealistic. The more violent the plan, the more devastating the failure becomes for everyone. Nowadays the Arabs and Muslims are much more open in proclaiming their genocidal intentions toward the Jews than the Nazis ever were.
“In the meantime, Arab media has dedicated itself to sophisticated productions of apocalyptic material, including the most virulent anti-Semitism’ such as blood libels, re-enactments of the Protocols, vicious political cartoons and proclaiming extermination of the Jews as salvation.
“One of the most worrisome aspects of this development is how much the West, rather than being shocked, has encouraged the discourse. When the suicide bombings began in October 2000 – to avenge the death of Mohammed Al Dura – there were pro-Palestinian demonstrations in Europe. Some of these featured scantily-clad fashion models wearing suicide belts. One must wonder at the moral sanity of these deeds. It is suicidal to greet violent apocalyptic acts with approval, ratifying the ideology that lies behind it.
“Also self-destructive was the widely expressed liberal empathy with Palestinian ‘despair’ saying ‘What choice do they have?’ The tragic failure of 2000 – especially on the Left – was the stunning silence that greeted one of the most depraved responses to an offer of peace in the recorded history of mankind.”
The Discourse’s Momentum
Landes considers that we have to watch how the apocalyptic discourse’s momentum is developing. “It’s common to say that Jihadism is an extremist, marginal form of Islam. In order to comprehend its potential role in current events, we need to understand it in terms of apocalyptic dynamics. Successful millennial movements, like the Nazis, spread from the fringes to the center. And in cultures that are vulnerable to apocalyptic messages – e.g., the conspiracist and disoriented Arab world – technology greatly amplifies its impact. Instead of local pockets, a critical mass of people can grow very quickly.
“Once such a mass has developed, a society’s leaders use apocalyptic rhetoric, as has the Palestinian Authority. Thus, this discourse becomes predominant in public. Anybody who disagrees is on the defensive and keeps quiet.”
When asked what the future will bring, Landes says: “A billion Muslims are at least attracted to an Islamic millennial scenario in which they take over the world. The vast majority is not yet apocalyptic, but it is certainly possible that both Arabs and Muslims worldwide could get swept up in a fever of apocalyptic hope and violence. Such a scenario may strike us as ridiculous. But in millennial matters, since the millennium never actually comes, unintended consequences play a major role. The more violent and active the apocalyptic scenario, the more destructive its consequences can be, no matter how unrealistic its goals.
“The West cannot afford to dismiss these fantasies because we consider them as unrealistic. We have to listen to what the Jihadists say, and especially, what they say to each other. The West needs – at the very least – to stop encouraging the apocalyptic thinkers by wrongly pretending that they are just upset about the Israeli occupation or American imperialism. Jihadis do not read our self-critical breast beating as a cause for moderation but rather to the contrary, an invitation to further violence.
“Above all, the West must cease to support, enable, and encourage this demopathic discourse which is as destructive to those who embrace it as it is to the rest of the world. We need to empower Arabs and Muslims who also fear such terrible forces and are willing to live at peace with their neighbors. The West needs to stop falling prey to demopathic anti-Zionism, and to identify real moderates on the other side of the cultural and religious divide. This should be done quickly, as they are losing ground daily, and the consequences of their failure are terrifying.”
Interview by Manfred Gerstenfeld
1. Norman Cohn, Warrant for Genocide (Harper & Row, New York, 1967).
2. Aviezer Ravitsky, Messianism, Zionism, and Jewish Religious Radicalism (Chicago U. Press, Chicago, 1995).
3. David Cook, Studies in Muslim Apocalyptic (Darwin Press, Princeton, 2002).
4. Cook does not treat this tradition in his book. See Yohanan Friedman, Prophecy Continuous (University of California Press, 1989).
5. See Fouad Ajami, The Vanished Imam (Cornell U. Press, Ithaca, 1987).
Richard Landes is a medievalist and teaches in the history department at Boston University. He specializes in the origins of European society around the turn of the first millennium. He obtained his B.A. from Harvard University and his Ph.D from Princeton University. He also studied at the Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris. Dr. Landes has published various books and edited several volumes, including an Encyclopedia of Millennialism and Millennial Movements (Routledge 2000). He is currently completing a volume on millennialism: Heaven on Earth: The Varieties of the Millennial Experience (Cambridge University Press), whose last chapter will treat global Jihad.