Date of Award
Bachelor of Arts
apocalypse, religion, doomsday, millennium, second coming, Y2K
For much of human history, people have maintained a fascination with the end of the world. The apocalypse refers to the final moment in human history, with apocalyptic thought focusing on questions of how and when this will occur. The apocalypse is among the most durable transhistorical phenomena, adapting to changes in technology, social structure, and theology. Apocalyptic thought often arises from conditions of “relative deprivation,” where subjugated members of society envision the apocalypse as deliverance from their present hardship. The Biblical works of Daniel and Revelation, among other notable apocalypses, fueled the anxieties and imaginations of Europeans during the Renaissance and Reformation. The Second Great Awakening revamped the prevalence of an imminent end and led to the rise of Adventism in the United States. The twentieth century saw the continued development of apocalyptic thought, with new religious movements, environmental concerns, and Y2K continuing a multi-millennia history of apocalyptic expectations. This thesis will examine the roots of apocalyptic thought and literature, examine the role religion played in its development, and how religion has modified eschatology to meet new societal concerns. It will comment on the broader idea of the world ending, hopefully capturing why it has fascinated and frightened humanity for so long.
Morrison, Patrick, "Apocalypse Across Contexts: Reactions to Sudden, Unwanted, and Comprehensive Change" (2022). Honors Theses. 2609.