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By Richard Connors

Neither the meliorist political tradition of the nascent American republic nor its later waft towards apocalyptically tinged 'fundamentalist' Protestantism and dispensationalism may 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 different quantity, 5 students operating in 3 unique disciplines (Religion, English literature, and heritage) 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 very least implicitly, to the critique of disciplinary exclusivity. merely in such combined corporation does the learn 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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Additional info for Anglo-American Millennialism, from Milton to the Millerites (Studies in the History of Christian Thought)

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Shortly after the execution of Charles I Thomas Gataker, editing a posthumously-published interpretation of Revelation by Robert Parker, seems primarily motivated to curb the political implications of Parker’s exegesis: “But whatsoever the Interpretation of these abstract and mystical points in the Revelation, it is not safe for any men to ground any action upon presumption or confidence that now the time is come when things shall be fulfilled, and that it doth belong to them to execute the Wrath of God against Papists or any others.

This “pessimistic” understanding of cosmic time (though as we will see the term is misleading) was, not surprisingly, strongest during the Marian persecutions. Bishop Ridley, imprisoned in the Tower in 1555 and seeing little hope for the Reformation in England, attributed his nation’s betrayal of the true church to the work of “Antichrist and his brood,”29 yet he comforted his followers by assuring them that “the world without doubt . . draweth toward an end” (75), urging them to “be not afraid, and remember the end” (79).

24 I have taken the trouble to lay out these different schemes in order to clarify the implications of medieval interpretive choices. Augustine eschewed an historical redaction of Revelation because he considered it too worldly, or “carnal”25 (a idea to which we will return when we consider seventeenth-century thought). His influential position, which remained dominant throughout much of the Middle Ages, makes clear that apocalypticism did not simply signify eschatology; rather, the book of Revelation served to heighten spiritual awareness or to offer a moral understanding of God’s Word.

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