Influence of Judeo-Christian apocalyptism on Marxism?

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Influence of Judeo-Christian apocalyptism on Marxism?

Post by FollowerOfMessiah »

As the question states... Has anyone else come across this idea? Are the similarities between Jewish and Christian apocalyptic traditions in Europe right through the Middle Ages and to the present merely coincidental or is there a deeper etiology? I have often heard there be a suggestion by way of Hegel, though since Marx was Jewish and Engels apparently had a family involved in Protestant ministry, they may have directly assimilated these ideas into their writings.

The difference of course between Marxism and Judeo-Christian apocalyptism is that it is (allegedly) entirely materialistic, and leaves little room for the role of God in history. Yet we see in Marxism the notion of "productive forces" mediating inexorably the dialectic (= Dualism) between the Proletariat and the Bourgeois across different Modes (Ages), leading to a final cosmic conflagration, out of which the final battle between the forces of good and evil will fight, leading to a Dictatorship of the Proletariat (Rapture/General Resurrection) and the transition from Socialism to Communism can begin (Kingdom of God on Earth). The law of the tendency of the rate of profit to fall leading eventually to an economic crisis is fairly analogous to the idea that corruption of the world eventually increases over time until it engulfs the whole earth, leading to God's wrath. And within the specific brand of Marxism-Leninism, all of these ideas are mediated by a specialized knowledge-producing class (the Vanguard = the Priesthood) which is able to disseminate the Good News to the masses.

I have also found direct connections between Maoism in China and heterodox Judeo-Christian sects; some of the veterans of the Tai'ping Rebellion eventually went on to be involved in the early Xinhai Movement, Warlord era and Kuomintang, with some of them later branching off to form the CCP. The Tai'ping Heavenly Kingdom was established by Hong Xiuquan who claimed to be visited by an angel which led him to claim himself to be the brother of Jesus.

Even the way that Marxist movements today lead themselves, being convinced that they are the ones to lead the final realm of history, leading to schisms within schisms, is common to what happens in apocalyptic movements.
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Re: Influence of Judeo-Christian apocalyptism on Marxism?

Post by andrewcriddle »

You might find Pursuit of the Millennium by Cohn of interest. NB The material about the Free Spirit heresy and Ranters is outdated.

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Re: Influence of Judeo-Christian apocalyptism on Marxism?

Post by lpetrich »

Yes, the theories are different. Instead of some cosmic superbeing magically manipulating human actions, it's that human actions follow some regularities or laws of nature, including collective human actions. Marxist theory does contain some oddities, however, like using "contradiction" as a synonym for conflict, and Bertrand Russell once grumbled that Marxist sympathizers use the word in ways that "no self-respecting logician can approve" (Unpopular Essays). Like saying that capitalism has "contradictions".

But from "A History of Western Philosophy" - Quote by Bertrand Russell: “The Jewish pattern of history, past and future,...”
The Jewish pattern of history, past and future, is such as to make a powerful appeal to the oppressed and unfortunate at all times. Saint Augustine adapted this pattern to Christianity, Marx to Socialism. To understand Marx psychologically, one should use the following dictionary:

Yahweh = Dialectical Materialism
The Messiah = Marx
The Elect = The Proletariat
The Church = The Communist Party
The Second Coming = The Revolution
Hell = Punishment of the Capitalists
The Millennium = The Communist Commonwealth

The terms on the left give the emotional content of the terms on the right, and it is this emotional content, familiar to those who have had a Christian or a Jewish upbringing, that makes Marx’s eschatology credible. A similar dictionary could be made for the Nazis, but their conceptions are more purely Old Testament and less Christian than those of Marx, and their Messiah is more analogous to the Maccabees than to Christ.
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Re: Influence of Judeo-Christian apocalyptism on Marxism?

Post by Thomas R »

The Russian philosopher Nikolai Berdyaev on the role of Christianity in the Russian revolution: ... 7/mode/2up


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