Richard Landes was trained as a medievalist at Princeton University (MA 1979, PhD 1984). His work focused on apocalyptic beliefs and millennial movements (Heaven on Earth, 2011), initially around the year 1000 (Peace of God, 1986; Relics, Apocalypse and the Deceits of History, 1996; Apocalyptic Year 1000, 2003). He developed the concept of “demotic religiosity,” an orientation that prizes 1) equality before the law, 2) dignity of manual labor, 3) access to sacred texts for all believers, and 4) moral integrity over social honor.
But he increasingly focused on contemporary movements (Paranoid Apocalypse, 2006), especially Global Jihad, and the feckless response to its challenge, starting with the coverage of the “Al Aqsa Intifada” in late 2000. He made a series of documentaries in 2005/6 titled “According to Palestinian Sources…,” which document the extensive staging of footage (Pallywood), the staging of the Al Durah footage (Making of an Icon), and the impact of that fake, broadcast as “news” by Western news media (Icon of Hatred).
In 2015, he retired from Boston University where he was a Professor in the History Department. He lives with his wife in Jerusalem, where he can write free of politically correct pressures.
His blog “The Augean Stables” (2005-present) deals largely with the ways in which Western news media fuel Jihad, especially in their coverage of the Middle East conflict. He is currently completing a book titled They’re so Smart cause We’re so Stupid: A Medievalist’s Guide to the 21st Century.
When he completes this book, he plans to return to his medieval work (While God Tarried: Disappointed Millennialism from Jesus to the Peace of God, 33-1033), and eventually work on his commentary on the Demotic Bible, an analysis of the ways the biblical text promotes demotic religiosity, and the way that a secularization of that religiosity contributed to the emergence of the modern world.