Questioning the Millennium: A Rationalist's Guide to a Precisely Arbitrary Countdown (Revised Edition)

Questioning the Millennium: A Rationalist's Guide to a Precisely Arbitrary Countdown (Revised Edition)

Stephen Jay Gould


during this new version of Questioning the Millennium, best-selling writer Stephen Jay Gould applies his wit and erudition to at least one of present day such a lot urgent topics: the importance of the millennium.

In 1950 at age 8, brought on via a topic of existence journal marking the century's midpoint, Stephen Jay Gould began wondering the impending flip of the millennium. during this attractive inquiry into time and its milestones, he stocks his curiosity and insights along with his readers. Refreshingly reasoned and soaking up, the e-book asks and solutions the 3 significant questions that outline the upcoming calendrical occasion. First, what precisely is that this inspiration of a millennium and the way has its which means shifted? How did the identify for a destiny thousand-year reign of Jesus Christ on the earth get transferred to the passage of an earthly interval of 1000 years in present human background? whilst does the recent millennium rather commence: January 1, 2000, or January 1, 2001? (Although possible trivial, the talk over this factor tells an fascinating tale in regards to the cultural historical past of the 20 th century.) And why needs to our calendars be so complicated, resulting in our look for arbitrary regularity, together with a fascination with millennia? This revised variation starts off with a brand new and broad preface on a key topic now not handled within the unique version.

As continually, Gould brings into his essays quite a lot of compelling old and clinical truth, together with a quick historical past of millennial fevers, calendrical traditions, and idiosyncrasies from worldwide; the tale of a sixth-century monk whose mistakes in chronology plague us even this day; and the heroism of a tender autistic guy who has built the intense skill to calculate dates deep into the prior and the future.

Ranging over a large terrain of phenomena--from the arbitrary regularities of human calendars to the unpredictability of nature, from the vagaries of popular culture to the beginning of Christ--Stephen Jay Gould holds up the replicate to our millennial passions to bare our foibles, absurdities, and uniqueness--in different phrases, our humanity.

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