Article

The Origins, Scope, and Spread of the Millenarian Idea

Peter B. Clarke

in The Oxford Handbook of the Reception History of the Bible

Published in print January 2011 | ISBN: 9780199204540
Published online May 2011 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199204540.003.0017

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Religion and Theology

 The Origins, Scope, and Spread of the Millenarian Idea

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This article looks at the origins, force and scope of millenarianism, sometimes referred to as millennialism or messianism, and offers some idea of how widespread the belief has become. The conclusion speculates about the reasons for its vitality, appeal, and persistence. Often associated exclusively with Christianity, the belief in paradise on earth has a long history and is found in many religious traditions, including Zoroastrianism, Islam, and forms of Hinduism and Buddhism. While the origins of millenarian belief pre-date Christianity, the Christian tradition very soon after its beginnings in the 1st century CE became and has remained the main vehicle for its dissemination worldwide.

Keywords: millenarianism; messianism; Christianity; paradise; Zoroastrianism; Islam; Buddhism; Hinduism

Article.  7993 words. 

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

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