Understanding Apocalyptic Terrorism: Countering the Radical Mindset, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Understanding Apocalyptic Terrorism

Countering the Radical Mindset, 1st Edition

By Frances L. Flannery


288 pages

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This book explores a cross-cultural worldview called 'radical apocalypticism' that underlies the majority of terrorist movements in the twenty-first century.

Although not all apocalypticism is violent, in its extreme forms radical apocalypticism gives rise to terrorists as varied as members of Al Qaeda, Anders Behring Breivik, or Timothy McVeigh. In its secular variations, it also motivates ideological terrorists, such as the eco-terrorists Earth Liberation Front or The Unabomber, Ted Kaczynski. This book provides an original paradigm for distinguishing between peaceful and violent or radical forms of apocalypticism and analyses the history, major transformations, and characteristics of the apocalyptic thought system. Using an inter-disciplinary and cross-cultural approach, this book discusses the mechanisms of radicalization and dynamics of perceived oppression and violence to clarify anew the self-identities, motivations, and goals of a broad swath of terrorists. As conventional counter-terrorism approaches have so far failed to stem the cycle of terrorism, this approach suggests a comprehensive "cultural" method to combating terrorism that addresses the appeal of radical apocalyptic terrorist ideology itself.

This book will be of much interest to students of apocalypticism, political violence, terrorism and counter-terrorism, intelligence studies, religious studies, and security studies.


'Flannery (religion, James Madison Univ.) proposes an interesting and alluring case for what she calls 'cultural counter-terrorism' in the effort to understand and oppose violent terrorism that arises from an apocalyptic mind-set. … Summing Up: Recommended. Most levels/libraries.'----L. J. Alderink, Concordia College, CHOICE

Table of Contents

Introduction PART I: Roots of Apocalyptic Terrorism 1. The Original Book of Revelation 2. By This Sign You Will Conquer: Transformations of the Book of Revelation PART II: The Apocalyptic Formula and Terrorism 3. How Not to Make a Terrorist: Peaceful vs. Radical Apocalypticism 4. "One who swims in the sea does not fear rain": Al Qaeda and Sunni Radical Apocalypticism 5. The Case of the Self-Declared "Islamic State": ISIS/ISIL 6. "The Lord God is a Man of War": Christian Identity Teaching and Radical Apocalyptic Terrorism 7. The Human-Pox versus Green Fire: Eco-Terrorists and Eco-Activists 8. Bringing Armageddon: Aum Shinrikyo PART III: Conclusion 9. Creating Peace in an Apocalyptic Moment

About the Author

Frances L. Flannery is Professor of Religion and Director of the Center for the Interdisciplinary Study of Terrorism and Peace (CISTP), James Madison University, USA, and author of Dreamers, Scribes and Priests: Jewish Dreams in the Hellenistic and Roman Eras (2004) and co-editor (with Rodney Werline) of Experientia, Volume One: Inquiry into Religious Experience in Early Judaism and Early Christianity (2008).

About the Series

Political Violence

This book series contains sober, thoughtful and authoritative academic accounts of terrorism and political violence. Its aim is to produce a useful taxonomy of terror and violence through comparative and historical analysis in both national and international spheres. Each book discusses origins, organisational dynamics and outcomes of particular forms and expressions of political violence.

Founding Editor: David Rapoport

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / Military / General
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Freedom & Security / International Security
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Freedom & Security / General
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Freedom & Security / Terrorism
RELIGION / General