Questioning the Millennium
A Rationalist's Guide to A Precisely Arbitrary CountdowneBook - 2011
Gould addresses three questions about the millennium with his typical erudition, warmth, and whimsy: What is the concept of a millennium and how has its meaning shifted over time? How did the projection of Christ’s 1,000-year reign become a secular measure? And when exactly does the millennium begin—January 1, 2000, or January 2, 2001?
In the run-up to the millennium, in 1997, revised in 1999, prominent American paleontologist Gould (1941-2002) explains why human history cannot be predicted, not merely as a practical limitation, but for scientific and philosophical reasons. Indeed, he points out the imprecision of dating even the historical past, let alone anything before that. He discusses the second millennium and millenarianism throughout history in a seamless and entertaining narrative typical of this great thinker and storyteller. Some of the material here also appears in revised form in Dinosaur in a Haystack. Belknap Press, an imprint of Harvard University Press, is reprinting Gould's books. Annotation ©2012 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)