Common Era, millennium, apocalypse, Judgment Day


As we approach the year 2000-2001 of what we now ecumenically term the Common Era words like millennium and apocalypse seem to meet us everywhere. Millennial madness, as I call it, may be in large part a media event, but no age in Western history has lacked for those who believed that the end of history, which is what the word apocalypse signifies for most people, was near. While apocalypse conjures up images of dread and destruction in most minds, the history of the broader phenomenon of apocalypticism in Christianity, Judaism, and Islam, has always been an intricate fusion of pessimism and optimism with the theme of Judgment Day representing the pessimistic pole and that of the Millennium symbolizing the optimistic side.