Judaism and the Idea of the Future

Kenneth R Seeskin*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

2 Scopus citations


One of the chief ways in which the Jewish worldview differs from that of the Greco-Roman world is that it is committed to the idea that the future does not have to repeat the mistakes of the past. This chapter explores the philosophic implications of this idea asking whether hope for a better future can be defended without succumbing to superstition, waiting for an apocalypse, or engaging in utopian speculation. It takes its cue from Maimonides, who argued that during the Days of the Messiah, there will be no miracles and no apocalypse. In other words, the end of history will not be an earthly paradise but a period of peace when people will have more time for study and worship. Contrary to the later views of Kant and Cohen, the end of history is within the power of human beings to achieve.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationJudaic Sources and Western Thought
Subtitle of host publicationJerusalem's Enduring Presence
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9780191728952
ISBN (Print)9780199583157
StatePublished - Sep 22 2011


  • Apocalypse
  • Future
  • Hermann Cohen
  • Immanuel Kant
  • Maimonides
  • Messiah

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities(all)


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