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The Messianic Imperative: Scourge or Savior?

At root in this century's momentous struggle with fundamentalism in its various forms, is its underlying messianism, defined as the salvation of mankind through the action of a messiah. In The Messianic Imperative, Scourge or Savior? the author digs to that root, laying it bare to the light of scientific inquiry, however inceptive.

Citing clinical studies from his practice, plus a systematic exposition of the life and career of Sabbatai Sevi, a professed messiah of the 17th century, Dr. Abrahams discusses the import of messianism to current day Judaism and Christianity. He provides a platform for further study of messianic careers and efforts to cope with the profound backward movement we have been experiencing since 9/11.

A degree of self-sacrifice is present in messianism, ranging from the purely spiritual to its full expression in the Islamic terrorist who glories in a physical immolation that leads to eternal life. Can we reach such people, those who live in these other spiritual worlds, and who threaten to evict us from ours?

The key, says Abrahams, lies in the knowledge developed in asylums by the original alienists and psychiatrists, and by social and political scientists. This work is offered as a contribution to that study, offered as a journey into unfamiliar terrain.