By Norman Cohn
During this engrossing ebook, the writer of the vintage paintings The Pursuit of the Millennium investigates the origins of apocalyptic religion - the assumption in an ideal destiny, whilst the forces of fine are successful over the forces of evil. Norman Cohn takes us again thousand years to the area perspectives of historic Egypt, Mesopotamia, and India, the thoughts of Iranian and Jewish prophets and sages, and the earliest Christian imaginings of heaven on the earth, and he illuminates an immense turning aspect within the heritage of human cognizance. For this moment, corrected variation, the ultimate bankruptcy, on Zoroastrians, Jews and Christians, has been fully rewritten and prolonged.
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Extra info for Cosmos, Chaos, and the World to Come: The Ancient Roots of Apocalyptic Faith
48 A text in the temple at Edfu describes the relationship between myth and edifice. After the demiurge had arrived on the hillock, the area became a holy place requiring protection; this was provided by a reed wall. As the waters receded, the reed shelter was developed further until it became a complete reed temple, with the shelter containing the god - originally at the top of the hillock - still at a somewhat higher level than the rest. All this was faithfully copied in the stone temple: changing floor and ceiling levels reproduced the shape of the primordial hillock.
Whatever man achieved in the way of irrigation and agriculture was always liable to be undone, the future was never predictable and always fraught with peril. At times torrential rains and scorching, dust-laden winds made life almost intolerable. And even at the best of times Mesopotamia was a difficult land to exploit. COSTTWS, CluJos and the World to Come 32 It was by no means rich in natural resources: metal, stone, timber had to be imported. Life was one long struggle against a recalcitrant nature.
Life was one long struggle against a recalcitrant nature. By the third millennium war was a further source of insecurity. To the west of the Euphrates lay the vast Syro-Arabian desert, with its scattered population of nomads. Mesopotamian peasants living on the alluvial plain were constantly harassed by these wild tribes, who raided their towns and villages. There was also perpetual tension, often exploding into violent conflict, between the inhabitants of the plains and the inhabitants of the foothills to the north.
Cosmos, Chaos, and the World to Come: The Ancient Roots of Apocalyptic Faith by Norman Cohn