Cosmos, Chaos, and the World to Come: The Ancient Roots of Apocalyptic Faith / Edition 2

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In this 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 prophets and sages, and the earliest Christian imaginings of heaven on earth, and he illuminates a major turning point in the history of human consciousness. For this second edition, the final chapter on Zoroastrians, Jews, and Christians has been wholly rewritten and extended.

The author of the classic work The Pursuit of the Millennium takes readers on a journey of exploration, through the world-views of ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, and India, through the innovations of Iranian and Jewish prophets and sages, to the earliest Christian imaginings of heaven and earth, to illuminate a major turning point in the history of human consciousness: when the forces of good would finally be victorious over the forces of evil.

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Editorial Reviews

Anthony Storr
Learned, fascinating and readable. . . . Norman Cohn combines scrupulous scholarship with readability in a unique way. . . . This book . . . will become a classic. —Independent on Sunday
E. Randolph Daniel
Anyone concerned with the history of apocalypticism and millennial cults, whether ancient, medieval, or modern, should read this book carefully.
J. D. F. Jones
A cool draught of wise and intelligent scholarship. —Financial Times
Jasper Griffin
An exciting as well as a learned book. —New York Review of Books
Library Journal
Cosmic order and human destiny provide the subjects for Cohn's (emeritus, Univ. of Sussex, England) most recent study. Students of his previous work, Pursuit of the Millennium (1970), will find in Cosmos the same rich tapestry encompassing history, archaeology, popular culture, mythology, and religion. With an eye to eschatology and apocalypticism, Cohn effectively leads us from the ancient Near East to the ``new'' thinking he locates in Zoroastrianism and its prophet, Zarathustra. He credits Zoroastrianism with providing the eschatological framework for Western thought. Cohn's depth and breadth of knowledge is marvelous, his enthusiasm for the subject infectious. Well documented and extremely readable, this is highly recommended for religion, history, and seminary collections.-- Sandra Collins, SLIS, Univ. of Pittsburgh
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780300090888
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Publication date: 8/28/2001
  • Edition description: Subsequent
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 1,405,534
  • Product dimensions: 4.90 (w) x 7.70 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Table of Contents

Foreword to the New Edition
Pt. 1 The Ancient Near East and Beyond
1 Egyptians 3
2 Mesopotamians 31
3 Vedic Indians 57
4 Zoroastrians 77
5 From Combat Myth to Apocalyptic Faith 105
Pt. 2 Syro-Palestinian Crucible
6 Ugarit 119
7 Yahweh and the Jerusalem Monarchy 129
8 Exile and After 141
9 Jewish Apocalypses (I) 163
10 Jewish Apocalypses (II) 176
11 The Jesus Sect 194
12 The Book of Revelation 212
13 Zoroastrians, Jews and Christians 220
Afterword 232
Appendix 234
Notes 240
Index 277
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