"A Beautiful Ending" by John Jeffries Martin

A Beautiful Ending The Apocalyptic Imagination and the Making of the Modern World John Jeffries Martin

Publication date:
10 May 2022
Yale University Press
336 pages: 235 x 156mm
30 b-w illus.

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 Khaldun, 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.

John Jeffries Martin is professor and former chair of the Department of History at Duke University. His books include Venice’s Hidden Enemies and Myths of Renaissance Individualism. He lives in Hillsborough, NC.

"In his elegantly braided analysis of the apocalyptic imagination among Christian, Muslim, and Jewish thinkers, John Jeffries Martin recasts the world-making events of the late medieval and early modern periods. A Beautiful Ending is a beautiful book."—Alan Mikhail, author of God’s Shadow: Sultan Selim, His Ottoman Empire, and the Making of the Modern World