Millennialism in Cross-Cultural Perspective

Catherine Wessinger

in The Oxford Handbook of Millennialism

Published in print October 2011 | ISBN: 9780195301052
Published online January 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

Millennialism in Cross-Cultural Perspective

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This article explains millennialism as a radical break from status-quoism and an aspiration to experience a total overhaul at the level of reflexive life planning. Changes and mobility, the central factors of millennialism, are expressed as “collective salvation” and envision, both as catastrophic and progressive changes. Despite its mention across the religious spectrum, the phenomenon allots a relatively protracted role to monotheism. Often religious adversity finds expression in the idea, preaching the destruction of the religious adversaries. Rightist millennialism in America betrays a protracted anti-Semitic and anti-Islamic orientation. However, violent factions constitute the minority in the millennialist community. Its religious overtones enforce a belief in apocalypse—some considering it imminent while others preach ways to avert the same by treading the “shown path”. The globalization of the idea has attracted diverse interpretations of the central idea and the auxiliaries, depending upon the socio-cultural, political milieu, in a given time and space.

Keywords: millennialism; collective salvation; anti-Islamic; anti-Semitic; progressive changes; monotheism

Article.  9765 words. 

Subjects: Religion ; Religious Studies ; Comparative Religion

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