Ted Daniels, Ph.D.
Electronic version copyright © Ted Daniels 1997. All rights reserved.
Originally published in Millennialism: An International Bibliography
by Garland Publishing New York, 1992. Reproduced here by permission.
URL for this article is http://www.
Indexes Introduction References Bibliographies Index to Subjects Index to Authors
This work aims to include "important" published work
on the millennium in all its aspects wherever and whenever it
may have occurred. It is a collection and annotation of works about millennialism. There are no original sources here, though you can find plenty of them elsewhere, if they're what you need.
My research was conducted rather simply. I began by looking at
the works listed in the "References" and "Bibliographies"
sections of this bibliography and went on to cull the lists provided
by the authors listed there. At that time (1987-92) on-line sources were only available to me at prohibitive cost, so I made little or no use of them.
I fished for published sources using a net that runs wide rather
than deep. This rule of publication is not absolute; you
will find a few unpublished works listed, but in general I decided
to exclude them on the grounds of space and that there is plenty
to keep you busy without them.
Though works on the important topic
of millennial literature, for instance, are included or at least
listed, my main focus is on millennial movements, very broadly
defined. These movements occur everywhere and at all times. Comparison
among them is sparse, and if this book is to be useful, it will
aid in that endeavor. Socialism and utopianism, for instance,
are not generally thought to fall into that category, yet their
aims are not altogether different, and their sociological similarities
with the millennium are close enough that comparisons can fruitfully
The great majority
of the specific groups discussed are American. This is not, or
not only, simple chauvinism but reflects both the comparative
accessibility to me of American works and the fact that America
seems to be a particularly lavish source of millennialism, for
a variety of reasons.
I have also included some works that deal with movements in general,
Including religious movements, since they seem to me at least
potentially informative. The works I have selected to annotate
were chosen on double criteria. Certain works could not be omitted
because they are generally thought to be important, and others,
because they are obscure but, in my judgement, shouldn't be. Works
of history are less fully annotated than others, because they
generally tend to be descriptive, and you need to make your own
decisions about which items and kinds of description are useful.
I have not confined my attention only to material that I consider
helpful, however. It seemed to me useful to consider some that
failed to shed any light and, in fact, could be misleading in
order to point out their shortcomings. Prominent in this category
is work by psychologists and those with pretensions to expertise
in that domain. Psychology seems to me so deterministic and culture
bound as to be useless in the understanding of a phenomenon that
is so clearly social and universal as the millennium.
Specialists, of course, know and have their own views on the
widely quoted works, but they may not know of the others. It is
my hope that this book will be useful both to specialists and
newcomers. My starting place was the social sciences, since movements
have their most direct relevance to those fields. Sources can
be found in anthropology, sociology, history, folklore, journalism,
political science, psychology, literary studies, philosophy, linguistics,
fiction, poetry, biography, drama and, of course, in apologetics
and prophecy. This book refers you to some of the 7,500 references
of more or less direct relevance that I know of, but while I believe
that I have a fairly complete listing from sociology and anthropology,
I have only begun to scratch the surface in the other disciplines.
My excuse for this shortcoming is in part the overwhelming size
of the field.
I chose to concentrate my annotations mostly on movements that
have been of importance to recent thought on the topic for several
reasons. First, information on modern movements is more plentiful
and more easily available, though it is no less subject to reporter's
bias than are early church polemics against heresy, often the
only sources of information on groups like the Montanists who
exercised great influence on later church history. Second, I have
in mind the likelihood that there will be a marked increase in
the number and possibly the influence of these movements as the
end of the calendar millennium approaches. It seems reasonable
to me to expect that the most recent forebears will have the greatest
impact on these newer movements, many of which might be expected
to appear as schisms. The annotations themselves in most cases
point out what seem to me important insights and errors in the
work in question, and some indication of the author's theoretical
For similar reasons I chose to focus on those specific movements
that have had, or might reasonably be expected to have, influence
on the West, both in attracting members and in the thought of
analysts. Neither the Native American Ghost Dance nor the Melanesian
cargo cults can reasonably be supposed to enjoy any great popularity
in any time soon in the West, but both have been crucial to the
thought of specialists, so both are given more space than one
might otherwise expect. For the most part I concentrated on theoretical
works, so I treat journalism, prophecy, and imaginative writings
as primary sources and discuss them only when their reports were
of particular importance to thought on movements in general.
The organization of this book is perhaps not the best one could
hope for. Ideally, perhaps, a bibliography ought to be arranged
by subject matter, but the theme of this one is so complex and
topics so inextricably interwoven that it seemed best to arrange
it alphabetically by author. However, just about every idea and
group of importance is indexed, as are all the authors discussed,
so that a little digging should lead you to whatever is your major
As a final note,
the only abbreviation used regularly here whose meaning is not
necessarily either well-known or obvious is "NRM," which
stands for "new religious movement."
There are two indexes to this work: a subject listing and an author listing. You will find that entries are contained in numbered files, and that not all the numbers run consecutively. This is because, following bibliographic convention, I have listed all works by a single author, or a number of the same authors, together in one file. It seemed on the whole less cumbersome to operate this way, even though when you look for a particular piece by Roy Wallis, say, you will get all thirteen of his pieces annotated in this book. It will then be necessary to scroll or search for the particular one you want.
If this is your first visit to the site, you will probably want to begin with the introduction to the book. In any case the indexes are available at these links: Subjects and Authors.