The coming of the millennium
DOI link for The coming of the millennium
The coming of the millennium book
Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, and particularly Engels, applied their ideas to many aspects of religion and especially to the analysis of religious movements such as early Christianity and millennial movements. This chapter discusses their treatment of millennial movements of the Middle Ages and the way their ideas concerning such movements have been developed by more recent writers and applied to a variety of such phenomena, both historical and contemporary. The millennium is usually seen as something that applies to a whole society or group within it, that is, to a collectivity rather than to individuals. It is a collective form of salvation. Engels characterised the role of Luther in the German Reformation as first encouraging the peasants in their demands for an improvement in their conditions but then deserting them when they went too far in demanding too far-reaching changes. Cohn emphasises the mystical nature of Thomas Miintzer’s thought and his obsession with millennial fantasies.