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From Renaissance Messianism to the Aryan Nation, Apocalyptic Political Movements--Their Attractions and Dangers.
On April 19, 1993, at least seventy-four people lost their lives near Waco, Texas; it has been clear to most Americans that the followers of David Koresh and the federal agents outside his compound inhabited two different conceptual worlds. Neither journalists nor law-enforcement experts nor the public seemed aware of the rich tradition of messianic, revolutionary politics behind groups like Koresh's: this is the history, stretching back to the Middle Ages, that is the subject of Messianic Revolution.
David S. Katz and Richard H. Popkin show how the beliefs of many fringe, distressed, and disenfranchised Christians have been transmitted across a millennium. They offer lucid explanations of why and how this apocalyptic strain found especially fertile ground in the New World, and throw new light on the many strands of Jewish and Christian biblical interpretation woven into this complex, fascinating history.