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In this unique exposition of important and yet often neglected developments in the history of Western spirituality, Stefan Rossbach reminds us of the philosophical and spiritual underpinnings of the Cold War era, drawing on the traditions of apocalypticism, millenarianism and 'Gnostic' spirituality.Beginning with the 'Gnostic' systems of late Antiquity, the analysis follows 'lines of meaning' which extend through the late Middle Ages and the Renaissance, right up to the present. From the long-term perspective which is thereby established, the spectre of a man-made nuclear apocalypse appears as the latest and most dramatic expression of an outlook on the human condition which refuses to accept limits in the imposition of human designs on the world. The paradoxical continuities that underlie the sense of epoch evoked by the end of the Cold War highlight this work's profound implications for our understanding of contemporary international politics.
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