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Cosmos, Chaos and the World to Come: The Ancient Roots of Apocalyptic Faith

4.0 of 5 stars 4.00  ·  rating details  ·  77 ratings  ·  5 reviews
In this engrossing book, the author of the classic work The Pursuit of the Millennium investigates the origins of apocalyptic faith - the belief in a perfect future, when the forces of good are victorious over the forces of evil. Norman Cohn takes us back two thousand years to the world views of ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, and India, the innovations of Iranian and Jewish p...more
Paperback, Second Edition, 256 pages
Published August 11th 2001 by Yale University Press (first published 1993)
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Joshua
While I really wanted to give this four stars, there was just too much that annoyed me. And I'm not talking about the fact that the whole premise of the book is to prove that modern Judaism, Islam, and Christianity are essentially off-shoots Zoroastrianism. Personally, I think that has little bearing on my faith in general. Also, to deny an influence of Zoroastrianism on Judaism, Islam, and Christianity would be ridiculous; however, that does not mean, as he heavily implies throughout the book,...more
Cooper Cooper
Norman Cohn, Oxford historian and author of the fascinating In Pursuit of the Millenium, in this more recent book attempts to sort out the origins of the ideas behind apocalypse. In his words:

This book is concerned with a major turning-point in the history of human consciousness: it tries to describe how the destiny of the world and of human beings came to be imagined in a new way, and how these new expectations began to spread abroad.

He starts by examining the religious beliefs of the ancien...more
David
More accessible for me than his "Pursuit of the Millennium" Cohn here explores the connection between Zoroastrianism and the western concept of the End of the World, Judgment Day, etc. Sounds a little dry from my description but trust me, an excellent read from an author with deep knowledge of the subject and a talent for sharing it.
Elfie
I like Norman Cohn a lot (unfortunately he is no longer with us) - always excellent scholarship presented in an easily comprehensible, well structured way. This book was of course particularly relevant when we were waiting to ring in the new millennium, but it has not lost its value now that we are in it!
Sally
Arresting, well-written; an exceptional book. It is a consideration of where the idea of the millennium or end of history came from (the Zoroastrians are the culprits).
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Jewish academic, historian and writer who spent fourteen years as a professorial fellow and as Astor-Wolfson Professor at the University of Sussex in the United Kingdom.

His main subject were the connection between medievel anti-semitism and contemporary anti-semitismn.

More about Norman Cohn...
Pursuit of the Millennium: Revolutionary Millenarians and Mystical Anarchists of the Middle Ages Europe's Inner Demons: The Demonization of Christians in Medieval Christendom Warrant for Genocide: The Myth of the Jewish World Conspiracy and the Protocols of the Elders of Zion Noahs Flood: The Genesis Story in Western Thought The Pursuit of the Millennium

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