Samuel Moyn

Apocalypse Now

The Endtimes of Human Rights


Cornell University Press 245pp £18.50 order from our bookshop

When John of Patmos imagined the endtimes, he wrote out of fury at what had become of Jesus’s teachings, as the Roman Empire coopted the one true faith. The sordid world of politics had, it seemed, quickly converted something precious into something profane. The reversal of fortune was so stunning that, drawing inspiration from a line of Jewish apocalyptic thinking, John concluded that not even an exaggerated denunciation of the tragic fate of Christianity in the clutches of Rome would suffice; only a grandiose cataclysm – as he imagined it – could undo the damage. The Book of Revelation, which he wrote, is so frightening that it has terrorised readers ever since.

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • 'Half-way through The Conquest of Water I felt as if I had been subjected to the literary equivalent of excessive c… ,
    • 'Volume five, then, but still no end in sight. Sandbrook is clearly enjoying himself so much he can’t bear the seri… ,
    • 'By the end of the book something so weighty, stylish and impressive has been built up that one feels far nearer to… ,
    • 'Her ensuing psychotic episode is described so convincingly ... that the reader will wonder if Dobrakovová did not… ,
    • 'The perspectives complement and contest one another, amounting to a glorious, atmospheric set of ventriloquisms.'… ,
    • RT : I reviewed The Testaments for . I will not be taking any questions at this time. ,
    • 'The Testaments is, first and foremost, a manual of resistance ... a type of resistance that is organised, articula… ,