and beliefs; to paradigms of success and patterns of resentment. Unlike many other books on apocalypticism and millennialism however, it studies not only the symbols and rhetorics but also their concrete long-term impact on the history of relations with the middle east.
not only as a heritage of a eurocentric geographic perspective but also as the “Bible land,” for the geotheological and geostrategic place that it holds, the middle east was and remains near to the United states—even nearer than to europe, of which the United states was an offshoot. For this reason, this book refers to the near east instead of using the familiar contemporary term Middle East. Globally, but particularly in the near east, peace on earth, the new order of Jesus, was to be won with the decisive help of american agency. From the near east, peace had to spread out globally. in the 1990s, i wrote a doctoral dissertation and used many american missionary sources but did not elaborate on the aspects i address here.4 The general interest in the middle east and the particular interest in religion and culture led, after 2000, to a prolific academic production on america, religion, and the middle east. Before this, the american missions had remained for decades at the margins of academic interest, as had the rich missionary archives.5
ahmet Şerif toured the Ottoman empire in the years between the hope- ful young Turk revolution of 1908 and the World War i. in this time he wrote his pieces for a young Turk newspaper. his “picture of a passage” portrays an important issue: a dynamic american mission to the Ottoman world, motivated by both biblical millennialist and modern ideas, inspired the near easterners’ respect, yet a muslim majority and their leaders felt excluded from the new dynamism because excluded from both the premises and the promises of the underlying millennialism. From the beginning of in- teractions on the ground in the early nineteenth century, american millenni- alism considered muslims and their heritage as being deficient, as did many europeans of the period with regard to the Jews. muslims could hardly cope with american millennialism, less so as american missions did not know and appreciate relevant muslim resources.
as the ruling group of the empire, moreover, Ottoman sunni muslims were on the defensive and not ready to revise their self-understanding as rul- ers. They feared that introducing the political participation of all groups, as postulated by Ottoman non-muslims and by Westerners, would lead to the fall of their imperial power and low regard for their religion, since both were inseparable (din ü devlet). in the late nineteenth century and in particular on the eve of the World War i, mutual tensions and increasingly aggressive muslim fear led to a dramatic breakdown of confidence both within Otto- man society and between the Ottoman rulers and americans. The fact that