Introduction: The <i>Terribles espoirs</i> of 1000 and the Tacit Fears of 2000

Richard Landes

in The Apocalyptic Year 1000

Published in print June 2003 | ISBN: 9780195161625
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199849666 | DOI:
Introduction: The Terribles espoirs of 1000 and the Tacit Fears of 2000

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The approach of the year 2000 proved fairly unfriendly to those historians who saw apocalyptic themes at work in the culture of the period around 1000. Indeed, in France, the modern culture that first produced the reading of the year 1000 as a moment of intense apocalyptic expectation produced a spate of books and articles by French historians that either explicitly or implicitly rejected the thesis outright, and two of those books explicitly sought to reject any suggestion that significant apocalyptic activities marked the turn of the first Christian millennium. This book turns to certain critical issues of definition, issues notably absent from the writings of “anti-Terrors” historians. The historian's difficulty in finding evidence of millennial phenomena, inherently problematic given the nature of his recording devices, becomes still more difficult when he or she has a limited grasp of the phenomena in question. The issues involved here go far beyond the question of identifying the presence of apocalyptic expectations and extend to the crucial problem of historical causation.

Keywords: France; culture; millennium; anti-Terrors historians; phenomena; causation; year 1000; year 2000

Chapter.  6855 words. 

Subjects: East Asian Religions

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