Article

Catastrophic Millennialism

Eugene V. Gallagher

in The Oxford Handbook of Millennialism

Published in print October 2011 | ISBN: 9780195301052
Published online January 2012 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780195301052.003.0002

Series: Oxford Handbooks

 Catastrophic Millennialism

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Catastrophic millennialism emanates from a deep pessimism towards society, history, and general humanity. This article develops an analysis of the basic descriptive vocabulary of catastrophic millennialism from the examination of a pair of texts from Late Antiquity. It simultaneously emphasizes a catastrophic end to life as we know it and “a heaven on earth”, the new coming of humanity, following the cleansing. The article also states that predictions of the apocalypse always combine certain general but instrumental factors that invariably strengthen the conflict. This article shows how a group of contemporary millennialist movements have used the basic tropes of catastrophic millennialism to create their own distinctive apocalyptic messages. It highlights how these groups differ in their assessments of why the world will soon be destroyed, precisely how it will happen, who will accomplish that destruction, when and where it will happen, and, especially, what their faithful followers must do in the meantime.

Keywords: catastrophic millennialism; rejection of domestic life; Gospel of Mark; apocalypse; contemporary millennialist

Article.  8708 words. 

Subjects: Religion ; Religious Studies ; Alternative Belief Systems ; Comparative Religion ; Philosophy of Religion

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