2012-2013 Tuohy Lecture Series

Dr. David L. Barr, professor at Wright State University, is the 2012-2013 Tuohy Chair fellow. Dr. Barr’s research focuses on eschatology.  He will be giving a series of six public lectures on:


Jerusalem, Jesus, and Jihad

End-Times Scenarios in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam


Judaism, Christianity, and Islam share much, including the feeling that we live in an imperfect world, dangling between an idealized beginning and an imagined end. Indeed, they share many details, beginning with Adam and ending with the Day of Judgment, with two of them positing the return of Jesus at the end. But these commonalities produce radically different visions in the present, both between and within these traditions. This series presents a broad overview of the End-times in these three religions—their common origins, parallel developments, and modern manifestations. Along the way we will encounter (and try to understand) such controversial topics as the role of Satan, the practice of Jihad, and the meaning of the Second Coming—for each tradition.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013 – Who Says It’s the End-times?

  • Viewed from the outside, Jews, Christians, and Muslims tell a remarkably similar tale of the end-times, including the coming of the Savior, the appearance of an anti-Savior, and a final battle involving Gog and Magog. But the meaning of this narrative varies considerably for different factions within each tradition (Orthodox or Reform Jews, Catholic or Protestant Christians, Sunni or Shia Muslims). Even more important are the anti-modernist movements often lumped together under the terms fundamentalists or revivalists (the ultra-Orthodox, the Evangelicals, the Salafi).


Tuesday, March 26, 2013 – The Original End-Times: Enoch, Daniel, Ezra. John.

  • The end of the world was invented in the third century B.C.E. when various visionaries, writing in the names of the ancient prophets, imagined a world in which God was not in control and evil was allowed to flourish. This new worldview can be seen taking shape in the biblical book of Daniel and in the extra canonical collection of writings known as First Enoch. It reaches its definitive form in two works connected with the fall of Jerusalem in the first century CE, the Apocalypse of John and IV Ezra. Understanding these works in their social and historical context will help us understand how these traditions are used by Jews, Christians, and Muslims today.


Tuesday, April 2, 2013 – Did God Fail?  A Role for Satan

  • Judaism, Christianity, and Islam all give a prominent place to an evil being called Satan and to his evil twin of the end-times, the Antichrist (Armilos in Judaism, Dajjjal in Islam). We are so accustomed to such a figure that we often fail to notice his absence from the Hebrew prophets, who explained evil in thoroughly human ways. Where on earth did the devil come from? And why has he been so popular?


Tuesday, April 9, 2013 – Jihad for all: Holy War and Righteous Violence

  • At the dawn of western literature, recorded in cuneiform on stone tablets from the second millennium BCE, we hear how the world of human civilization began in a cosmic battle between Chaos and Kingship (the Enuma Elish). Righteous violence can fix the world. Or can it? Judaism, Christianity, and Islam have all used the holy war tradition to justify military action––often with disastrous results. All three traditions have also produced thinkers who reject, modify, or even transform the notion of holy war.


Tuesday, April 16, 2013 – The (Second) Coming: Messiahs, Jesus, and the Madhi

  •  Judaism, Christianity, and Islam all await the appearance of one or more saviors who will descend from heaven and conquer evil on earth: perhaps Elijah will come and turn the people back to God? Perhaps Jesus will return now equipped with a sword and an iron rod?  Perhaps the Mahdi will appear or reappear? These hopes have led to numerous false starts, often eliciting mockery and sometimes disaster.


Tuesday, April 23, 2013 – The Politics of the End Time Today

  • “The End is Near” or so most Americans apparently believe, and everything from world chaos to the Mayan Calendar are said to prove it. But should the believer wait for it or act to bring it about? Minority movements in each tradition advocate waiting (Lubavicher Messianism; Rapture theology; Hidden Imam) or acting (Messianic Zionism, Dominion theology; Iranian Imamate). The ultimate question is whether these traditions about the end can be used to imagine and create a better future or whether they will lead to conflict and attempted domination.

All lectures will be held at 7:30pm in the Dolan Science Center, Donahue Auditorium, at John Carroll University.

No registration is necessary.