Black Mass: Apocalyptic Religion and the Death of Utopia  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Black Mass: Apocalyptic Religion and the Death of Utopia is a non-fiction book by John N. Gray published in 2007. Gray was at the time the School Professor of European Thought at the London School of Economics and in the book he further develops his critique of social progress. In recent history he looks at the New Right government of Margaret Thatcher and the neoconservative government of George W. Bush. But he also connects totalitarianism, that is communism and nazism, with millenarianist movements in the Middle Ages with them, citing examples such as that of John of Leiden, who led a rebellion in the German city of Münster in 1534. In here he is helped by the work of Norman Cohn, The Pursuit of the Millennium. His main thesis is that the influence of said religious movements created the secular, Enlightenment belief in social progress. And this philosophy of history, known as teleology, has contaminated the contemporary isms, including classical liberalism.

The book is split into six chapters, each of which is around 40 pages and is in turn split into sub-chapters:

  1. The Death of Utopia
  2. Enlightenment and Terror in the Twentieth Century
  3. Utopia Enters the Mainstream
  4. The Americanization of the Apocalypse
  5. Armed Missionaries
  6. Post-Apocalypse




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