Cosmos, Chaos and the World to Come: The Ancient Roots of Apocalyptic Faith Hardcover – 1 Oct 1993
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"A cool draught of wise and intelligent scholarship." -- J.D.F. Jones, Financial Times
"Anyone concerned with the history of apocalypticism and millennial cults, whether ancient, medieval, or modern, should read this book carefully." -- E. Randolph Daniel, Church History
"Learned, fascinating and readable ... Norman Cohn combines scrupulous scholarship with readability in a unique way ... This book will become a classic." -- Anthony Storr, Independent on Sunday
"This is an exciting as well as a learned book, not only for those students of ancient religion but for those with any interest in modern apocalyptic faith." -- Jasper Griffin, New York Review of Books --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
About the Author
Norman Cohn is professor emeritus at the University of Sussex and author of Noah's Flood: The Genesis Story in Western Thought, also published by Yale University Press. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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Some other suggested reading would be: In Search of Zarathustra by Paul Kriwaczek, as well as the the wonderful work by Irving Finkel " The Ark before Noah". Paul writes of the persecution of the Cathars of France ( another sad commentary on religion gone bad) who were practising the teachings of Zorastor. Irving writes as an expert in ancient cuneiform writings to unveil yet more about ancient myths and how they became mutated into today's dogma.
But I digress. It is interesting to note that Norman points out that not one shred of criticism, regret, or any evidence of vengeance was carried out by the Jews against the Persians, even while in captivity. In fact, just the opposite happens. They were enlightened by the ancient teachings of Zorastor, at least the elite were enlightened. Common people were not even included until much later in history.
Great, Great read. Thank you Mr. Cohn.
However, if you want depth on any of these topics, there are other books for you. For Zoroastrianism, begin with Mary Boyce. For early Christianity, begin with E. P. Sanders and move on to Ehrman. For ancient Mediterranean religion, begin with "Religions of the Ancient World: A Guide." And consider "The Other God."
Cohn's argument that Zoroastrianism had a huge influence on ancient Judaism and Christianity, is in my opinion unquestionable, and yet neither emphasized nor even recognized in academic circles, nor widely known among the general public. Somehow it is perceived as embarrassing to Judaism, and yet I think that is ridiculous: after all, the influence on modern Judaism is minute, and who does Zoroastrianism threaten? Jesus, Paul, Hillel and the author(s) of Daniel were still Jews, even if influenced by Zoroastrianism. In fact, in my opinion, they are far more interesting! Similarly, isn't Christianity more interesting precisely because it assimilated so much "pagan" influence? So I hope this book is read widely and its argument more popularly acknowledged.
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