Apocalypse Now and Then: Our Global Death Wish
Millennialism is the scholarly term for the belief that a wholesale transformation of the world, for better or for worse, is imminent. And as two massive new tomes, Richard Landes’ Heaven on Earth and the The Oxford Handbook of Millennialism edited by Catherine Wessinger, very helpfully demonstrate, our own beliefs and fears about politics, economics, and the environmental crisis, are not so distant from ancient apocalyptic prophecies about the end of the world, the Second Coming, or the rapture. Sure, our anxieties may be grounded in ‘facts,’ but the ancients thought theirs were too. What’s more important is the pattern of millennial thinking, which has always been with us and, unless the world is about to end, likely always will be.