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Cults and the End of Time: a history of millenarian discourse (6 points)


Leader: Peter Howard

Not offered in 2003.

Synopsis: This unit explores the fascination of the belief that the end of the world is at hand and that in its wake will appear the inexhaustively fertile world of the Golden Age. The unit will investigate the origins of such millenarian thought in the first-century Eastern Mediterranean world and the Apocalypse of John, before surveying how and why the images therein evoked caught not only the medieval imagination but also that of moderns and representations in media and film. Special attention will be given to charting the complex relationship of apocalyptic traditions to religious, social and political change, and therefore to dissent and revolution.

Assessment: Group project presentation and individual essay (1000 words): 20% + Oral presentation and essay (2000 words): 35% + Two in-class tests (equalling 90 minutes): 45%

Contact Hours: 2 hours (1 lecture and 1 tutorial) per week

Prerequisites: a first-year sequence in History or permission

Prohibitions: HSY3600, RLT2600, RLT3600

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