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The Apocalypse of Empire

Imperial Eschatology in Late Antiquity and Early Islam

Stephen J. Shoemaker argues that earliest Islam was a movement driven by urgent eschatological belief that focused on the conquest, or liberation, of the biblical Holy Land and situates this belief within a broader cultural context of apocalyptic anticipation that includes early Byzantine Christianity, Judaism, and Sasanian Zoroastrianism.

Author Information

Stephen J. Shoemaker is Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Oregon and author of The Death of a Prophet: The End of Muhammad's Life and the Beginnings of Islam, also available from the University of Pennsylvania Press.


"Stephen J. Shoemaker cogently argues that late antique Christianity, Judaism, and Zoroastrianism, as well as early Islam, are all deeply imprinted by a kind of apocalypticism that ascribes a crucial role to imperial conquest and triumph."—Nicolai Sinai, University of Oxford

"A work of vast scholarship, original insights, and with a masterful linguistic grasp of primary sources, some of which are being noted by Stephen J. Shoemaker for the first time. The Apocalypse of Empire successfully spans the conceptually and linguistically problematic divide between late antiquity and early Islam."—David Cook, Rice University

Audience: College/higher education;