By Richard Connors

Neither the meliorist political tradition of the nascent American republic nor its later go with the flow towards apocalyptically tinged 'fundamentalist' Protestantism and dispensationalism could be defined outdoor the context of the shared Anglo-American traditions and practices of millennial expectation and apocalyptic angst--whether expressed through early colonists, Milton, Blake, Miller or the Continental Congress. during this chronologically direct and thematically assorted quantity, 5 students operating in 3 certain disciplines (Religion, English literature, and background) method millennialism and apocalypticism within the British and Anglo-American contexts, making impressive contributions either to the research of spiritual, literary and political tradition within the English-speaking ecumene, and, at the least implicitly, to the critique of disciplinary exclusivity. in simple terms in such combined corporation does the examine of the millennial nexus in English and American faith, tradition, literature and politics, from the time of Milton to the time of the Millerites, come into concentration.

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34   in itself. Their comments about historical change begin to resemble what Habermas describes as the dispensation of secular, modern time: “Whereas in the Christian West the ‘new world’ had meant the still-to-come age of the world of the future, which was to dawn only on the last day . . 71 Yet although Habermas opposes this new sense of time to Christian cosmology, apocalyptic thinking in fact helps English writers to conceive of novelty as a positive phenomenon in history. The notion of a future earthly paradise, one radically different from the present, provided a model of godly innovation.

24 “Revelation” in The Literary Guide to the Bible, ed. Robert Alter and Frank Kermode (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press), 525–534. Alter’s classifications include further interpretive tendencies, such as recapitulation, ecclesiology, and tropology; I have selected the ones most relevant to my discussion. 7 and 9. 12   depending on whether you place Christ’s return before or after the millennium. The English Reformers reinvigorated the tradition of historical interpretation in a radical manner.

Frederick G. Lawrence (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1987), 5. 72 Winstanley, Works, 327–28.        35 not the past, authorizes his innovative politics. Indeed, his cosmology allows him to theorize a radical culture in a way that Foxe and the Elizabethans could not. He responds to an apocalyptic directive to break with a corrupt lineage and rebuild society from the ground up. The same is largely true for Milton, except that Milton expresses an even more intense willingness to break with the past.

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Anglo-American Millennialism, from Milton to the Millerites by Richard Connors
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