Cosmos, Chaos and the World to Come by Norman Cohn
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Cosmos, Chaos and the World to Come
By Norman Cohn

Cosmos, Chaos and the World to Come

The Ancient Roots of Apocalyptic Faith 2nd Revised edition

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Format: Paperback

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Cosmos, Chaos and the World to Come by Norman Cohn

Book Description

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 takes us 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 on earth. Until around 1500 B.C., it was generally believed that once the world had been set in order by the gods, it was in essence immutable. However, it was always a troubled world. By means of flood and drought, famine and plague, defeat in war, and death itself, demonic forces threatened and impaired it. Various combat myths told how a divine warrior kept the forces of chaos at bay and enabled the world to survive. Sometime between 1500 and 1200 B.C., the Iranian prophet Zoroaster broke from that static yet anxious world-view, reinterpreting the Iranian version of the combat myth. For Zoroaster, the world was moving, through incessant conflict, toward a conflictless state--"cosmos without chaos." The time would come when, in a prodigious battle, the supreme god would utterly defeat the forces of chaos and their human allies and eliminate them forever, and so bring an absolutely good world into being. Cohn reveals how this vision of the future was taken over by certain Jewish groups, notably the Jesus sect, with incalculable consequences. Deeply informed yet highly readable, this magisterial book illumines a major turning-point in the history of human consciousness. It will be mandatory reading for all who appreciated The Pursuit of the Millennium.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780300090888
ISBN-10: 0300090889
Format: Paperback
(197mm x 127mm x 18mm)
Pages: 256
Imprint: Yale University Press
Publisher: Yale University Press
Publish Date: 10-Oct-2001
Country of Publication: United States

Other Editions...

Books By Author Norman Cohn

Europe's Inner Demons by Norman Cohn Europe's Inner Demons, Paperback (January 1998)

Traces popular beliefs about witches to their origins, and shows how the great witch-hunt erupted, when thousands of innocent people were tortured and burned alive in the 16th and 17th centuries. Norman Cohn is the author of "The Pursuit of the Millennium" and "Warrant for Genocide".

Warrant for Genocide by Norman Cohn Warrant for Genocide, Paperback (February 1996)

Hitler's anti-semitic obsession stems from his fascination with a literary forgery, the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Warrant for Genocide sets the story of the Protocols within the broader context of the history of anti-semitism.

Pursuit of the Millennium by Norman Cohn Pursuit of the Millennium, Paperback (June 1993)

The Middle Ages inherited a tradition of prophesy which, during those centuries, took on fresh vitality. This tradition foretold a millennium in which the world would be inhabited by happy people. This book tells the story of those millenarian fanaticism and points to their persistence today.

» View all books by Norman Cohn


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Author Biography - Norman Cohn

Norman Cohn is professor emeritus at the University of Sussex and author of Noah's Flood: The Genesis Story in Western Thought, also published by Yale University Press.

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