Theoretical Considerations

In this paper I am concerned with the explanation of a type of religious phenomenon I shall refer to as millennialism. I would, at the outset, underline the religious character of this phenomenon, since millennialism (also known under a variety of other names) is often viewed as a projection of psychological, economic, or political crisis experiences. I do not view religion merely as a projective system; rather I hold with Clifford Geertz that it is a “cultural system” which serves as both a “model of” and a “model for” reality. That is to say, I see religion serving both as a set of symbols that makes human experience ultimately meaningful, and as a set of symbols that provides an ultimate basis for human action.

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