Approaching the Apocalypse: A Short History of Christian Millenarianism

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Plague, earthquake and flame: ideas about divinely-inspired disaster and prophecies of doom have an enduring place in the history of Christian thought. For centuries men and women have made preparations for the imminent end of the world, and for the thousand year reign of Christ and his saints. Inspired principally by the startling texts of the Book of Revelation, Christianity has a rich and varied tradition of looking forward to the purifying fires of Armageddon. But what do recurring motifs like the Rapture, pestilence, biblical prophecy and the building of the New Jerusalem really add up to? And how have interpretations of these patterns differed from century to century? Charting a steady course between the feverish predictions of early Christian heretics like the Montanists, and the febrile outpourings of modern-day millennialists such as the Branch Davidians and Christian Zionists in America, John M. Court explores the continuities and differences between their violent visions of cataclysm. His history comprises an incisive analysis of such movements and figures as the Levellers and Diggers, James Jezreel and his Trumpeters, Seventh-Day Adventists and Jehovah's Witnesses, cargo-cults and drug cultures. Embracing two thousand years of intense and fiery admonition, Approaching the Apocalypse offers students of religion, history and politics the definitive handbook to Doomsday.

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About the Author:

John M. Court was formerly Senior Lecturer in Theology and Religious Studies and Head of Department at the University of Kent at Canterbury. He is the author of many books which include The New Testament World, Reading the New Testament and The Book of Revelation and the Johannine Apocalyptic Tradition.

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""With the modern-day interpreters of the book of Revelation that it generates, the colorful language that it uses of Rapture and Armageddon and its preoccupation with the State of Israel, Christian millenarianism makes a major impact on contemporary politics and religion. Millenarianism is as intriguing to general readers as it is to students of the Bible and Christian history. This short book usefully explains key elements of its discourse and the diversity of ideas within it. John Court helps interested non-specialists, as well as undergraduate students new to the field, to negotiate both the history of apocalyptic expectation in the West and otherwise confusing terms such as pre- and post-millenarian. Without overloading the reader with information, he has succeeded in writing an accessible, compact introduction to selected millenarian themes, personages and movements, from the Bible to the present-day.""--Christine Trevett, Professor of Religious and Theological Studies, University of Cardiff, and author of Montanism: Gender, Authority and the New Prophecy

""This wide-ranging and accessible study of millennial thought and its implications for Christian history is part of the necessary rehabilitation of a doctrine whose significance for the intellectual history of Christianity has too often been relegated to the margins of scholarly concern. John Court’s broad knowledge and thorough treatment make a welcome contribution to a better appreciation of this important feature of Christian theology. His book spans two thousand years, and focuses on a number of the key issues, such as the biblical origins, Montanism, the significance of the marking of the first millennium, the impact of Joachite ideas and the millennial dynamic of North American Christianity. Christian theologians down the centuries may have liked to think that they had dispensed with the doctrine of the millennium by showing how it misrepresented the New Testament. The widespread influence of such ideas only demonstrates the impossibility of pinning down such an allusive apocalyptic image and the pervasiveness of themes with millennial import in the foundation texts of Christianity.""-- Christopher Rowland, Dean Ireland Professor of the Exegesis of Holy Scripture, University of Oxford

""From the Book of Daniel to the Left Behind novels of Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins, John M Court’s Approaching the Apocalypse offers a fascinating history of the startling idea of the end of days within western cultural history. Covering a wealth of different historical and textual material, and opening a window on to 2000 years of Christian eschatological thinking, this lively survey ought to be recommended reading for undergraduate and graduate courses in both apocalyptic ideas and millenarian movements.""-- John Walliss, Director, Hope Centre for Millennialism Studies and Senior Lecturer in the Sociology of Religion, Liverpool Hope University

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Book Description I.B.Tauris Co. Ltd., United Kingdom, 2008. Hardback. Condition: New. New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Embracing two thousand years of intense and fiery admonition, Approaching the Apocalypse offers students of religion, history and politics the definitive handbook to Doomsday. Ideas about divinely-inspired disaster have an enduring place in the history of Christian thought. For centuries men and women have made preparations for the imminent end of the world, and for the thousand year reign of Christ and his saints. Inspired principally by the startling texts of the Book of Revelation , Christianity has a rich and varied tradition of looking forward to the purifying fires of Armageddon. But what do recurring motifs like the Rapture, pestilence, biblical prophecy and the building of the New Jerusalem really add up to? And how have interpretations of these patterns differed from century to century?Charting a steady course between the feverish predictions of early Christian heretics like the Montanists, and the febrile outpourings of modern-day millennialists, such as the Branch Davidians and Christian Zionists in America, John M Court explores the continuities and differences between their violent visions of cataclysm. His history comprises an incisive analysis of such movements and figures as the Levellers and Diggers, James Jezreel and his Trumpeters, Seventh-Day Adventists and Jehovah s Witnesses, cargo-cults and drug cultures. Approaching the Apocalypse shows why prophecies of plague, earthquake and flame continue to resonate so powerfully in the Christian imagination, and beyond. Seller Inventory # AA79781845117580

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Book Description I.B.Tauris Co. Ltd., United Kingdom, 2008. Hardback. Condition: New. New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Embracing two thousand years of intense and fiery admonition, Approaching the Apocalypse offers students of religion, history and politics the definitive handbook to Doomsday. Ideas about divinely-inspired disaster have an enduring place in the history of Christian thought. For centuries men and women have made preparations for the imminent end of the world, and for the thousand year reign of Christ and his saints. Inspired principally by the startling texts of the Book of Revelation , Christianity has a rich and varied tradition of looking forward to the purifying fires of Armageddon. But what do recurring motifs like the Rapture, pestilence, biblical prophecy and the building of the New Jerusalem really add up to? And how have interpretations of these patterns differed from century to century?Charting a steady course between the feverish predictions of early Christian heretics like the Montanists, and the febrile outpourings of modern-day millennialists, such as the Branch Davidians and Christian Zionists in America, John M Court explores the continuities and differences between their violent visions of cataclysm. His history comprises an incisive analysis of such movements and figures as the Levellers and Diggers, James Jezreel and his Trumpeters, Seventh-Day Adventists and Jehovah s Witnesses, cargo-cults and drug cultures. Approaching the Apocalypse shows why prophecies of plague, earthquake and flame continue to resonate so powerfully in the Christian imagination, and beyond. Seller Inventory # AA79781845117580

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