A Beautiful Ending: The Apocalyptic Imagination and the Making of the Modern World


An award-winning historian’s revisionary account of the early modern world, showing how apocalyptic ideas stimulated political, religious, and intellectual transformations “A masterful synthesis of the prognostications of faith, knowledge, and politics on a global stage. Martin’s book illuminates one of the enduring themes that shaped the medieval and early modern world.”-Paula E. Findlen, Stanford University In this revelatory immersion into the apocalyptic, messianic, and millenarian ideas and movements that created the modern world, John Jeffries Martin performs a kind of empathic time travel, entering into the psyche, spirituality, and temporalities of a cast of historical actors in profound moments of discovery. He argues that religious faith-Christian, Jewish, and Muslim-did not oppose but rather fostered the making of a modern scientific spirit, buoyed along by a providential view of history and nature, and a deep conviction in the coming End of the World. Through thoughtful attention to the primary sources, Martin re-reads the Renaissance, excavating a religious foundation at the core of even the most radical empirical thinking. Familiar icons like Ibn KhaldÅ«n, Columbus, Isaac Luria, and Francis Bacon emerge startlingly fresh and newly gleaned, agents of a history formerly untold and of a modern world made in the image of its imminent end.

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Martin, JJ

Published Date

  • January 1, 2022

Start / End Page

  • 1 - 323

International Standard Book Number 13 (ISBN-13)

  • 9780300247329

Citation Source

  • Scopus