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.

Andrew Criddle
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