What once was considered a fad among religious extremists has now become the subject of serious, extended study on American campuses.
Across the country scholars and publishers are expanding their investigations of what the appearance of the year 2000 means for the present and future of American religion. At least two major anthologies have already appeared on this subject. The Chronicle of Higher Education (Oct.24) reports that at least 10 well known colleges are offering courses on 2000 and millennium themes. These include Notre Dame, the University of Illinois and California State University, Long Beach.
In early November, the Center for Millennial Studies at Boston University offered in early November an extended open seminar for scholars exploring “The Apocalyptic Views of Unbelievers Among Christians, Jews, and Muslims.” Well-known scholars such as Harvard University zoologist Stephen Jay Gould are contributing to a discussion once looked at as the domain for fringe doomsday sayers.
A leading writer on the subject, Daniel Wojcik of the University of Oregon, offers an explanation for this surge of interest. “It’s how people project hopes and fear on the date that’s important. Somehow there’s been an acknowledgment of this as an important American phenomenon.”
— By Erling Jorstad