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The Paranoid ApocalypseA Hundred-Year Retrospective on The Protocols of the Elders of Zion$
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Richard Landes and Steven T. Katz

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780814748923

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814748923.001.0001

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Thomas of Monmouth and the Protocols of the Sages of Narbonne

Thomas of Monmouth and the Protocols of the Sages of Narbonne

(p.56) 5 Thomas of Monmouth and the Protocols of the Sages of Narbonne
The Paranoid Apocalypse

Johannes Heil

NYU Press

This chapter explores the ways in which the anti-Semitism of medieval Christians produced narrative lines very similar to the conspiratorial one that lies at the base of the Protocols forgery. Comparing modern and medieval versions of the cosmic conspiracy, the chapter reveals important similarities—secret meetings of an international elite, the use of complex communications systems, a malevolent conspiracy to harm Christians and benefit Jews, and cosmic/apocalyptic stakes. But there are also two telling contrasts: in the medieval versions, the Jews work as part of a divine plan; in modern versions, the Jews are independent of a divine framework. Ironically, as modernity cast off the shackles of medieval theology, it retained avatars of medieval anti-Semitism and apocalypticism that, in the new, desacralized and technologically empowered setting, had still more explosive impact.

Keywords:   medieval anti-Semitism, cosmic conspiracy, apocalypticism, modern anti-Semitism, medieval theology

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