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Lecture 9 Millenarianism and the Apocalypse


'And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, ... Apocalyptic beliefs predate Christianity, appear in other religions including Islam ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Lecture 9 Millenarianism and the Apocalypse

Lecture 9 Millenarianism and the Apocalypse
  • Reading Downloadable Notes Diamond Collapse
  • Topics
  • Revelation and the Apocalypse
  • The Roots of Millenariansim
  • The Collapse of Civilizations
  • The Global Risk Society

The Book of Revelation
  • Reading Downloadable Notes
  • Book of Revelation
  • And he laid hold on the dragon, that old
    serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound
    him a thousand years, and cast him into the
    bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal
    upon him, that he should deceive the nations no
    more, till the thousand years should be
    fulfilled (202)
  • they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand
    years. But the rest of the dead lived not again
    until the thousand years were finished. This is
    the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he
    that hath part in the first resurrection on such
    the second death hath no power, but they shall be
    priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign
    with him a thousand years. (204-6)

Revelation and Apocalypse
  • Apocalypse in the terminology of early Jewish and
    Christian literature a revelation of hidden
    things given by God to a chosen prophet
  • Often used to describe the written account of
    such a revelation.
  • Apocalyptic literature
  • Concerned with resurrection of the dead, judgment
    day, heaven and hell
  • Apocalyptic beliefs predate Christianity, appear
    in other religions including Islam
  • Apocalypse technically refers to the unveiling of
    God, not to all of the destruction of the world
    which will accompany God's Revelation of Himself
    to Humankind.

  • Millenarians generally hold the beliefs
  • The struggle between the forces of good and evil
    will come to a climax (usually in the near
    future), and good will triumph and institute a
    reign of righteousness
  • During the reign of righteousness historical
    wrongs will be rectified, injustice and
    oppression will cease, and those who profit from
    injustice and oppression will get what's coming
    to them.
  • Righteous believers will play a crucial role,
    either by helping to defeat the forces of evil,
    or by sharing in the millennial reign, or both.

Important Millenarians
  • There is no single source for millenariansim
  • Some argue that it is based on the Jewish
    apocalyptic tradition.
  • Joseph Priestley (1733-1804)and Richard Price
  • Priestley credited with discovering oxygen
  • Like Price, a leading religious dissenter and on
    American side in War of Independence
  • Millenariarians in History
  • Shakers, Jehovahs Witnesses
  • Modern Examples of Cults
  • Aum Shinri Kyo in Japan Euro-Canadian Order of
    the Solar Temple

The Utopian World
  • Notion was Coined by Sir Thomas More (1478-1535)
    -- later Saint Thomas More
  • Humanist scholar, Lord Chancellor (1529-1532)
  • Refused to accept Henry VIIIs claim to be the
    supreme head of the Church of England
  • Led to his execution as a traitor.
  • Utopia (1516) an ideal, imaginary island nation
    where there is no private property and nearly
    complete religious toleration
  • Derived from Platos Republic
  • No place for athesim man must fear some God,
    else he shall act evilly and their society will
  • Absence of private property led to connection to

Evolution of Utopian Notions
  • Sir Francis Bacon (1561-1626)
  • Remembered as defender of the scientific
  • Popularized inductive methodology for scientific
    inquiry the Baconian method
  • Knowledge of the natural world obtained through
    experimentation, observation and testing of
  • Knowledge is power
  • New Atlantis (1624)
  • Improvement of society through science
  • Has room for greed

More recent History of Utopian Views
  • Economic Utopias (often Utopian socialists)
  • Egalitarian distribution of goods, abolition of
    money, citizens only do enjoyable work for the
    common good, and the cultivation of the arts and
  • Edward Bellamy (1850-1898), Looking Backward
  • William Morris (1834-1896), News from Nowhere
    (1890) an early ecologist/environmentalist
  • Other Types of Utopia
  • Political, Religious, Technological
  • James Hilton (1900-1954), Lost Horizon (1933)
    source of Shangri La

Who is … ?
  • Ulrich Beck (1944- )
  • German sociologist
  • Studies modernization, ecological problems and
  • Jared Diamond (1933- )
  • American evolutionary biologist, biogeographer
    and author
  • Won Pulitzer for Guns, Germs and Steel (1997)
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