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Download Heaven on earth : the varieties of the millennial experience by Richard Landes PDF

By Richard Landes

Millennialists in the course of the a while have regarded ahead to the apocalyptic second that would substantially rework society into heaven on the earth. they've got added withering opinions in their personal civilizations and promised either the upcoming annihilation of the forces of evil and the arrival of an ideal society. And all their supplies have normally failed. We have a tendency, for that reason, to brush off those prophets of doom and salvation as crackpots and madmen, and never strangely historians of our secular period have tended to underestimate their effect on our glossy global. Now, Richard Landes bargains a lucid and ground-breaking research of this generally misunderstood phenomenon.

This long-awaited learn indicates that many occasions often considered as secular--including the French Revolution, Marxism, Bolshevism, Nazism--not in basic terms include key millennialist components, yet keep on with the apocalyptic curve of enthusiastic release, unhappiness and (often catastrophic) re-entry into "normal time." certainly, as Landes examines the categorical millennialism in the back of such fresh occasions because the emergence of world Jihad seeing that 1979, he demanding situations the typical thought that glossy background is basically pushed by means of secular pursuits. through targeting ten greatly varied case reports, none of which come from Judaism or Christianity, he exhibits that millennialism is not just a cultural common, but in addition an incredibly adaptive social phenomenon that persists around the glossy and post-modern divides. while, he additionally deals necessary perception into the social and mental components that force such beliefs.

Ranging from old Egypt to modern day unidentified flying object cults and international Jihad, Heaven on Earth either offers an eye-opening revisionist argument for the importance of millennialism all through historical past and indicators the reader to the alarming unfold of those ideologies in our global this day

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Extra resources for Heaven on earth : the varieties of the millennial experience

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In this book, it refers to two related issues: a sense imminence about the great upheaval and the scenario whereby we now go from this evil and corrupt world to the redeemed one. The key element is, therefore, timing. Millennial or eschatological thinkers who anticipate a distant date for these events—six billion years till the sun goes nova, centuries before the advent of the millennium—tend to adopt passive postures. Apocalyptic believers, on the other hand, tend toward hyperactivity. Indeed, the more impending the end, the more frenetic their behavior.

What seems irrational, if not insane, from the outside, fuels ardor and gets the adrenaline flowing on the inside. Hence, we find the tendency to up the ante in the face of disappointment. The apocalyptic moment induces extreme behavior of wildly opposing types, from radical asceticism to extravagant generosity to sometimes-violent antinomianism (sexual license, breaking taboos, even murder). ” All movements are profoundly antiauthoritarian (at least where older authorities are concerned) and often begin in radical egalitarianism (communal property).

A. Goldhammer (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1986). 53 If the story is true, at the approach of 1988, in response to Edgar Wisenant’s tract 88 Reasons Why the Rapture Will Happen in 1988, one believer actually ran up a large credit card bill. If he did so, he assumed that, at the Last Judgment, God would forgive him for cheating because he believed in the date. 20 ■ heaven on earth On the other pole redemption comes to those who behave morally, whose interpersonal deeds are weighed in the balance and found worthy.

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