In this volume, historians, critics, and theorists review 3000 years of apocalyptic thought. Tracing the history of millenarianism from ancient times to the 17th century, each theorist investigates the modern and postmodern debates in which apocalyptic themes are recirculated. From Zoroaster to Derrida, thinkers have used the dramatic language of apocalyptic to uncover the ends of the world, exploring the relationship between ends as purposes and ends as terminations, and the connections between religious and secular versions of apocalyptic theory. In the resulting interplay of closure and disclosure, they have sought to find purpose to lift, and a conclusion to history. As the millennium draws to a close, questions about the end of the world seem increasingly urgent. This volume then is a guide to these bewildering questions and discourses of the limit. It should be of interest to anyone participating in contemporary debates in cultural studies, religious studies, literary theory, postmodernist philosophy and history. Malcolm Bull is the co-author (with Keith Lockhard) of "Seeking a Sanctuary: Seventh-Day Adventism and the American Dream".
Introduction: on making ends meet, Malcolm Bull. Part 1 How Tim acquired a consummation, Norman Cohn; "Upon whom the ends of the ages have come" - apocalytic and the interpretation of the New Testament, Christopher Rowland; the end of the world and the beginning of Christendom, Bernard McGinn; pattern and purpose in history in the later Medieval and Renaissance periods, Marjorie Reeves; 17th-century millennarianism, Richard Popkin. Part 2 Secular apocalypse - prophets and apocalyptics at the end of the 18th century, Elinor Shaffer; Saint-Simonian industrialism as the end of history, August Cieszkowski; on the teleology of universal history, Laurence Dickey; apocalypse, millennium and utopia today, Krishan Kumar; Part 3 The "apocalyptic tone" in philosophy - Kant, Derrida, Foucault, Christopher Norris; waiting for the end, Frank Kermode, beginning and ending - Adrono as lateness itself, Edward Said.