ISIS and the Coming of Judgment Day: A Theology of the Real
Academic Lecture by Dr. Ori Goldberg, The International Institute for Counter-Terrorism (ICT).
ISIS is seen by many as an extreme aberration. The organization is considered to be a pathological monstrosity by Muslims and Non-Muslims alike, integrating fundamentalist interpretations and violent practices into a modern-day evil. In other words, the prevailing understanding of ISIS is, at best, dichotomous and two-dimensional.
In my talk, I propose the necessity of an additional ISIS dimension - its theology. I suggest that as a religious phenomenon, ISIS possesses a complex, faith-oriented theological logic. This logic is focused on the inevitable (and proximate) coming of Judgment Day. The reality of Judgment Day generates a Theology of the Real, an operational definition of policy, necessity and interest. We will explore the reality of eschatology through a reading of Leviticus 26, and continue with a reading of the ISIS "Declaration of the Caliphate", the document announcing the establishment of the physical Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant.
Dr. Ori Goldberg's research focuses on the interaction between religious faith and political behavior. His specialty is Shi'a Islam and Iran. His doctoral dissertation, published by Routledge in 2011 (Shi'i Theology in Iran: The Challenge of Religious Experience), dealt with the role of religious experience in the creation of revolutionary Shi'i discourse in Iran.
Dr. Goldberg is the author of Lachshov Shi'it (Thinking Shi'a), published as part of IDF Radio's "Broadcast University" series. He is the co-author (with Shaul Mishal) of Understanding Shiite Leadership: The Art of the Middle Ground in Iran and Lebanon (Cambridge University Press, 2013).
Dr. Goldberg is the recipient of many academic prizes, including the Dan David Prize and the Wolff scholarship. He has served as a research fellow in several prominent institutions and foundations abroad, including Yale University, the Mellon Foundation, the Volkswagen Stiftung and others.
He has served as a senior research fellow at the Dado Center for Interdisciplinary Military Though (IDF) and is a faculty member of the Israeli National Defense College. Dr. Goldberg teaches and has taught at the IDC, Tel Aviv University, and other institutions.