Millennium, Messiahs, and Mayhem: Contemporary Apocalyptic Movements

Tom Robbins, Author, Thomas Robbins, Editor, Susan Palmer, Editor Routledge $34.95 (332p) ISBN 978-0-415-91649-3
As the year 2000 approaches, both popular culture and popular religion have painted pictures of what the end times might look like. Robbins and Palmer have gathered a number of essays that take a sober look at the phenomenon of apocalypticism in the modern world. In a first section, authors like David Bromley (religion, VCU) and James Aho (sociology, Idaho State) challenge traditional theories of apocalypse and show that apocalyptic thinking may be found beyond the borders of linear Western thinking. A second section examines the ways in which apocalypticism has been secularized in movements like the Christian militia movements. In a third section, writers examine the ways in which apocalypticism has been promulgated among organized religions. A final section explores the violence and confrontational stances of apocalyptic movements like the Christian Identity Movement, David Koresh's Branch Davidians and Aum Shinrikyo, the Japanese cult whose members loosed sarin gas in the Tokyo subway. In all of the essays, the authors attempt to show how apocalyptic groups may be defined by their attention to the signs of the millennium and the signs of a messiah, a figure who will draw to a close one epoch and usher in a new one, and the ways in which these dual beliefs often lead to mayhem. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 07/10/1997
Release date: 07/01/1997
Hardcover - 334 pages - 978-0-415-91648-6
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