Millennialism, Scripture, and Tradition

Eugene V. Gallagher

in The Oxford Handbook of Millennialism

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

Series: Oxford Handbooks

 Millennialism, Scripture, and Tradition

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Millennialism encourages interpretation of historical or religious scriptures. A need to establish relevance between ancient scriptures and contemporary situations, makes such interpretations extremely positivist. This article examines three primary examples. The first two focus on the complex dynamics of the formation and uses of two texts from the Bible. The Biblical book of Daniel has been the source of many a theological effort to identify the time of the apocalypse. The Rastafarian movement capitalized on the maltreatment of colored slaves as the contemporary manifestation of the Babylonian forces. Reinterpreting the Bible reflected the urge to deny white Christian dominance. This article examines a contemporary millennialist text that attempts to legitimize its message by expressing its millennial hope in a scriptural mode. The discussion of each of those examples is intended to reinforce the contention that the decision to read the signs of one's time and elements of traditional wisdom as conveying a millennialist message represents an intentional interpretive decision.

Keywords: millennialism; religious scriptures; Biblical book of Daniel; contemporary millennialist; Rastafarian movement

Article.  8072 words. 

Subjects: Religion ; Philosophy of Religion ; Religious Studies ; Christianity

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