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Millenarianism or millenarism is the belief by a religious, social, or political group or movement in a coming major transformation of society after which all things will be changed in a positive (or sometimes negative or ambiguous) direction. Millennialism is a specific form of Millenarianism based on a one thousand year cycle.

Millenarian groups typically claim that the current society and its rulers are corrupt or unjust and will be destroyed soon by a powerful force. The evil nature of the status quo is always considered intractable without the anticipated dramatic change. In Medieval millenarianism the world was seen as controlled by demons, in the modern world economic rules or vast conspiracies are seen as generating oppression. Only dramatic change will change the world and change will be brought about, or survived, by a group of the devout and dedicated. In most millenarian scenarios, the disaster or battle to come will be followed by a new, purified world in which the true believers will be rewarded.

Millenarian beliefs can make people ignore conventional rules of behaviour, which can result in violence directed inwards (such as mass suicides) and/or outwards (such as terrorist acts). It sometimes includes a belief in supernatural powers or predetermined victory. In some cases, millenarians withdraw from society to await the intervention of God or another metaphysical force.

Millenarian ideologies or religious sects often appear in oppressed peoples.

In politics, millenarianism is often linked to radical ideologies that share a similar belief in a transformation of society, and which can be based in secular or religious ideas. In this way millenarianism is closely linked to Apocalypticism.


The year 1000 panic

It was once widely believed that a severe millenarian panic seized Christian Europe in the year 1000. However most historians dispute contemporaneous references to such events, and the standard claimed reference is actually from Johannes Trithemius' Annales Hirsaugiensis which was written at least five centuries later. Scholars discredited the notion beginning around 1840, and for a time it was considered a popular urban legend. The idea has been resurrected by some contemporary scholars, especially Richard Landes of Boston University and the Center for Millennial Studies.[1] (


Dale C. Allison, Jesus of Nazareth: Millenarian Prophet (Augsburg Fortress, 1999) ISBN 0800631447

Norman Cohn, The Pursuit of the Millennium: Revolutionary Millenarians and Mystical Anarchists of the Middle Ages, revised and expanded (New York: Oxford University Press, [1957] 1970). (revised and expanded 1990) ISBN 0195004566

Jeffrey Kaplan, Radical Religion in America: Millenarian Movements from the Far Right to the Children of Noah (Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 1997). ISBN 0815626878 ISBN 0815603967

See also

External links

cs:Chiliasmus de:Millenarismus ja:千年王国 pl:Millenaryzm


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