The End of Days: Fundamentalism and the Struggle for the Temple Mount by Gershom Gorenberg
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
For a modest book it packed such an army of characters in the 250 pages that I have trouble remembering who was who. The book mostly talks about the Temple Mount / Dome of the Rock as the focal point for extreme religious energy.
In the U.S. You can get an earful of millennialism (pre-mil usually) just by scanning “Christian” tv, but I gather there is a strong current of Messianic thought in Israel which is just as intense if not more so than the Christian version. AND it turns out a there is a growing branch of this kind of stuff in Islam, which strangely has gained popularity only recently and seems to unknowingly pick up the same structure as Christian End Times enthusiasts.
Interestingly (but obviously if you think about it) each side sees the others as being the crazy ones. And it is a given for every evangelical view that the Mosque on top of the Temple Mount is a sacrilege, the Muslims feel the same about any encroachment on their holy site. But all three believe a final battle will come and God will clear away the other guys.
It is a triangle of zealotry with each side thinking in the end only they will be left standing.
My one sentence synopsis is...
“This book shows there is not shortage of crazies, be they Jewish, Muslim or Christian and if any of them get worked up enough they have no problem with all the other “non-believers” being blown away, either with guns or by God.”
Here are just a few quotes from a few of the pages I dog-eared.
By the time we get to Hal Lindsey deciphering those names in 1970 as referring ot Russia and the "Iron Curtain countries," who will invade Israel and might be destroyed by nuclear weapons, we have reason to wonder what is literal about the reading. The man who says, "I had those who read their ideas into the scripture by using allegory," seems as capable as any allegorist of reading what he wants into scripture. 245
A parable from the Jewish mystical tradition known as hasidism: A man was once walking through a forest at niht and came to a house . Looking through the window, he saw people flinging their arms and legs about in grotesque motions. How awful, he thought, they're having seizures, they must ball have a terrible illness, or perhaps they're mad. But the man outside the window didn't hear the singing inside, and didn't know they were dancing. If you don't hear the the music of faith, says the story, you'll see the dance as disease. To take the point further, if you don't pay attention to the particular song being sung, you may notice only "seizures"_ and not which dance you're see out of the many possible. 236
Beneath the sci-fi veneer, for instance, the Heavan's Gate dream of ascent to heaven looked a lot like the Rapture...
..(they) had been making apocalyptic predictions for years. They couldn't sustain expectation forever, so they had to take irrevocable action.”This is the ultimate dogmatism: Any price is worth paying save the price of admitting that the Idea was wrong. 227
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