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

4.06  ·  Rating details ·  139 ratings  ·  8 reviews
All over the world people look forward to a perfect future, when the forces of good will be finally victorious over the forces of evil. Once this was a radically new way of imagining the destiny of the world and of mankind. How did it originate, and what kind of world-view preceded it? In this engrossing book, the author of the classic work The Pursuit of the Millennium ta ...more
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published December 29th 1993 by Yale University Press (first published 1993)
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Joshua
Aug 17, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
While I really wanted to give this five stars, there was just too much that annoyed me. And I'm not talking about the fact that the whole premise of the book seems to be that modern Judaism, Islam, and Christianity are essentially off-shoots of 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 boo ...more
Cooper Cooper
Aug 07, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
May 19, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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. ...more
Stephen Crawford
Feb 21, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I genuinely hope Cohn's other book, "Pursuit of the Millennium", is better than this offering.

I wanted to like this book, even though I knew going in that there were heaps of methodological problems and unwarranted assertions. In a way, the first few chapters are very good, informative, and compelling. The book is also very readable and well-paced, never tedious. There are fascinating tidbits and connections scattered throughout even the very problematic chapters.

But alas I need to elaborate on
...more
Paul
Jan 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A dense, authoritative survey of the development of the myth of the millennium and a future paradise. Awaiters of the Rapture take note.

I have long been fascinated by millenarianism, and have felt inspired to build stories around this idea. The notion of a profound revolution resulting in a permanent utopia is hypnotically seductive to many of us. When I learned back in 1986 that the Jehovah's Witnesses are a millenarian cult of this kind, I was actually attracted to their organization. In Switz
...more
Gus
Jan 14, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
4,5. a primeira metade do livro é impecável, quando começa a falar dos povos do sírios-palestinos começa a ficar muito maçante....
Elfie
Apr 09, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.

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