Apocalypses: Prophecies, Cults, and Millennial Beliefs Through the Ages

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Harvard University Press, 2000 - History - 294 pages
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Apocalyptic visions and prophecies from Zarathustra to yesterday form the luxuriant panorama in Eugen Weber's profound and elegant book. Beginning with the ancients of the West and the Orient and, especially, with those from whom we received our religions, the Jews and earliest Christians, Weber finds that an absolute belief in the end of time, when good would do final battle with evil, was omnipresent. Within centuries, apocalyptic beliefs inspired Crusades, scientific discoveries, works of art, voyages such as those of Columbus, rebellions and reforms. In the new world, American abolitionists, who were so critical to the movement to end slavery, believed in a final reckoning. The nineteenth and twentieth centuries' apocalyptic movements veered toward a lunatic fringe, and Weber rescues them from obloquy. From this more than two millennia history, he redresses the historical and religious amnesia that has consigned the study of apocalypses and millennial thought to the ash heap of thought and belief.

Weber, a master storyteller, turns detective in this latest book as he finds these alternative rationalities in the West, Asia, Africa, and South America. He writes with profound respect for the millennial pulse in history while never losing his urbane and witty style of writing. As we approach our second millennium beset by a host of apocalyptic predictions and cults, this book offers a map of understanding of the creeds we ignore at our peril.


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APOCALYPSES: Prophesies, Cults, and Millennial Beliefs Through the Ages

User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

Yet another history of millennialism and prophecy belief, shallow but a cut slightly above its peers. One of the strangest claims in Weber's usually on-target chronicle is that millennialism is ... Read full review

Apocalypses: prophesies, cults, and millennial beliefs through the ages

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

As we approach the "fin de si cle," Weber informs us that for Western man, "It is not the si cle, but the fin that matters." Since Zoroaster and the Old and New Testaments, the end of history with its ... Read full review


Chronologies and Fins de Siecle
Apocalypses and Millenarianisms
In Dark and Bloody Times
Revivalists and Antichrists
Apocalypse and Science
Apocalypse in Worldly Times
Pursuits of the Millennium
Times Noblest Offspring
The Twentieth Century

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About the author (2000)

Eugen Weber was Joan Palevsky Professor of Modern European History, Emeritus, at the University of California, Los Angeles.

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