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Condition: Used: Very Good
Comment: Cover has minor rubbing, marking, and lite corner/edge wear. Pages are clean and neat. Excellent reference copy. 2004 Edition, Softcover.
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The Pursuit Of The Millennium: Revolutionary Millenarians and Mystical Anarchists of the Middle Ages Paperback – Import, 1993

4.7 out of 5 stars 28 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 414 pages
  • Publisher: Pimlico; Edition Unstated edition (1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0712656642
  • ISBN-13: 978-0712656641
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 1.2 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,598,267 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Antonio on August 30, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Cohn's "Pursuit of the Millennium" has aged well and nearing 50 years of age it is deservedly a classic. Its subjet might be considered by some to be esoteric: it deals with prophets from middle age Europe who led others to believe that the end of times was at hand, and that they had been chosen by God to purify the world in preparation for the Kingdom of the Last Days, and with pantheistic mystical anarchists who believed that they could do no evil because they had connected with their divine essences. In most cases these figures are virtual unknowns even for people who like history. The few that still turn up are Thomas Müntzer, the leader of the rebellious peasants who were exterminated in the Battle of Frankenhausen (a character in the historical fiction pastiche "Q" by Luther Blisset) and John of Leyden, the tailor who created a totalitarian kingdom of saints in Münster. For the revolutionary millennarians the tale is a bit repetitive, and it usually went like this: a former priest or a hermit with a violent disposition concludes, after meditating for a long time, that he is living at the end of times and that he is God/ he is a god/ he has been chosen by God or a god to lead the just and the good in a final, apocalyptic, war against Antichrist and his followers, to usher in the millennium of the saints announced by John the Divine, prior to the end of the world and the final reckoning. The hermit or defrocked priest finds some followers and eventually is able to take hold of a town or a castle, which he converts into a stronghold with the help of the rootless rabble. Then he proceeds to plunder from the rich (nobles and clergy) and to purge the unredeemed.Read more ›
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Format: Paperback
The apocalyptic imagination has always exercised great control over the mind of the Western man - from bands of Jewish zealots in the time of Josephus to the masses of poor warriors in the Crusades to take the Holy Land for Christendom to the mutual hurling of the epithet "Antichrist" between Luther and the Pope, and it has been keenly expressed in the Biblical tradition within the Books of Daniel and Revelations. _The Pursuit of the Millennium_ takes a look at the mass movements and delusions that developed out of this tradition in the Middle Ages and the period following the Middle Ages, the Reformation. Norman Cohn shows how prejudices and hatreds among the poor (especially against the Jews, the clergy, and the wealthy) were used by mystical prophetae in conjunction with the apocalyptic tradition to give rise to mass movements which resulted in much mayhem and bloodshed. For example, the People's and Shepherd's Crusades in the Middle Ages were movements of mindless zealotry which ended in mass slaughter. Cohn examines various sects that developed out of these apocalyptic traditions around such figures as the Emperor Frederick, Joachim of Fiore, and various other individuals and imposters who sought to mobilize the masses of poor. In the later Middle Ages, this type of movement was exemplified among the flagellants, the Brethren of the Free Spirit, Taborites and followers of Thomas Muntzer, the militant wing of the Anabaptists, and later the Ranters in England. Often, these movements incorporated Joachimite speculations about a coming Age of the Spirit, mystical doctrines that made one was free to sin as one pleased (Free Spirit), and communistic ideals that involved belief in a Golden Age in which all men had lived as brothers with all things in common.Read more ›
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Format: Paperback
A friend recommended this to me as 'a great read' and I also recommend it to you for the same reason. It is rare that a work can be appreciated for its academic value, and for pure fascination. Who could not but be fascinated by the medieval flagellants, the Taborites, Joachim of Fiore, the Tafurs, the Anabaptists and the Ranters. Some groups awaited the returned of the Emperor Constantine, or Frederick Barbarossa, or even the Duke of Flanders, to herald the last days. Other preached, and practised, Free Love, and community of goods. Startingly, the Anabaptists of Munster (Germany) withstood a lengthy siege for their beliefs, while what was happening inside the walls of the city seemed to prefigure the regime of Stalin. Important to recall the limitations of medieval Catholicism, which drove many into fringe sects, and eventually helped spawn the Reformation. Not that the Protestant princes were any more sympathetic to the Prophets of the Poor. For an academic book, this is also fun to read, though its subject in places in quite grisly.
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Format: Paperback
When I first read the book, I began in the back--it's divided well so that it reads like small hilarious tales or longer, fascinating and riotous history. The tales are Monty Python-esque, especially because the best Monty Python humor is the use of straight-forward history. From the whacked out tales of Protestant reformation, utopian and distopian enclaves of cultish religious fanatics, to riveting tales of 'witchcraft and mysticism,' this isn't comedic fiction, it's unbelievable History! I love to read this book aloud to others, and that's my highest compliment
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