Let's Talk 2000

"The heartbeat of 2000 A.D. from cyberspace"


October 15, 1996, Volume 2, Issue 17, a bi-weekly bulletin

Topics covered in this issue:

The Millennium Doctor Speaks
News from the Field:

Talk from the Forum:

New Millennial Sites:

Contact Information

The Millennium Doctor Speaks:


"Taking the pulse of 2000 A.D."

"Worried?" "Who Cares?" This is the lead in for the new TV series which is akin to "Stephen King writing for 'Touched by Angels.'' It's "Millennium", one of the biggest psycho-dramas to hit fall TV, premiering October 25th on Fox network. Check out our review below and learn how "millennial fever" will hit the small screen and the Internet within 10 days.

Rather than looking at the millennial fears of 2000, Talk 2000 has been discussing the real and imagined fears of 1000 A.D. Note the feature below which announces an all-star conference at Boston University on this subject.

For those just receiving this "Let's Talk 2000" bulletin, you are welcome to post any feedback to what you read in this ezine to: 2000ad-l@usc.edu,

News from the Field:
"Here is the latest news on year 2000 efforts."

MILLENNIUM SERIES TO PREMIER OCT 25TH
The most anticipated psycho-drama of the fall season is waiting until the World Series is over to unveil its suspense. When it does on Fox at 9 p.m., Friday, October 25th, producer Chris Carter hopes his dark and violent "Millennium" series will stand for hope, in the midst of a world which needs to square off against evil, understand it and thwart it.

Millennium's about a retired FBI agent, Frank Black (Lance Henriksen), who was a serial-killer profiler. Frank Black moves his wife (Megan Gallagher) and young daughter to the presumed safety of Seattle. Black is then recruited by the "Millennium Group," a secret task force that deals with a surge in serial crime--crime presumably inspired by the coming turn of the millennium.

Reviewers say the first episode is a graphic serial-murder case akin to movie hit "Silence of the Lambs," with creepy prophecies of the apocalypse thrown in. Frank Black and his fellow members of the task force "don't necessarily believe in prophecy as much as they believe others are motivated by the prophecies," Carter says. The point of series is to ask, "Who is strong enough to care" about things out of hand leading us to an apocalypse?

Before "Millennium" has even premiered, it appears to have inspired a sci-fi, horror, detective cult following, akin to the X-Files series. There is a "The Unofficial Millennium Frequently Asked Questions File" at: http://mail.utep.edu/~trevizo/millennium/faq. Other fans on AOL have started an email list to discuss the show. See: http://members.aol.com/monica725/millen.htm. TV Guide has posted previews, commercials and actor profiles at http://www.iguide.com/tv/carter/. And Millennium has attracted its "First Unofficial" web site at: http://members.aol.com/tskforce2k/millennium/mainpage.htm. Source: Bimillennial Press, talk2000@rmii.com

HOST CITIES BID ON 2000 CELEBRATIONS
Chicago based "Millennium Celebrations (tm)" will convene a pre-bid meeting of some 22 candidate cities on October 14th, to brief them on celebration timelines and events for the year 2000. Selected host cities will be featured in a 25-hour global broadcast which Millennium Celebrations (tm) will run live on December 31, 1999. Cultural, competitive and corporate activities will lead into and support the grand finale millennial celebration in 24 time zones. The MC2000 web site is at: http://www.2000celebration.com

BU PLANS APOCALYPSE 1000 CONFERENCE
Richard Landes rlandes@bu.edu and the Center for Millennial Studies at Boston University will host a three-day "Apocalyptic Year 1000" int'l symposium at Boston University, from Nov. 3-5. This conference will bring together some 35 millennial scholars from countries such as England, France, Germany and Israel to explore the history and historiography of apocalyptic time, particularly in reference to the years 1000 and 1500. Academic papers will be presented in topics such as: "The Psychology of Millennial Dating," "Apocalyptic Antijudaism," "The Art of the Millennium," and "Social Mutation of Failed Millennial Movements", to name a few. Stephen Jay Gould of Harvard University will bring a paper on "Reading Punctuated Equilibrium in a Lacunary Record." For registration information and meeting times of the "Apocalypse 1000" symposium call the BU Department of History at (617) 353-5238 or visit the Center for Millennial Studies' web at:http://www.mille.org/

Talk from the Forum:
"Here is a recap of recent conversations"

THE YEAR 1000: BIGGEST HOAX OF HISTORY?
With the release of the latest year 2000 book, Millennium III, Century XXI by historian Peter Stearns (Westview, 1996), Talk 2000 has been discussing his premise that "the apocalyptic history of the year 1000 turns out to be one of the most successful, large-scale frauds in modern treatments of the past." Stearns writes, "Sometimes the fraud has been unwitting, due to sloppy exaggeration or repetition with no real research, but sometimes it has been quite calculated." (pg. 26)

On October 11th, Boston University medieval scholar Richard Landes rlandes@bu.edu added some much needed nuance to our corporate understanding of the apocalyptic hopes and fears of the last millennium. In response to comments I posted about Stearn's book, Landes writes:

"I would call his historiographical analysis very sloppy, based on the work of people (like Ferdinand Lot) who have no understanding of apocalyptic thinking and behavior, indeed who have an intense distaste for any kind of 'enthusiasm'.

> He holds up French historian Jules Michelet for ridicule for his account of 1000
Michelet's passage on the year 1000 is one of the most perceptively dense and nuanced
passages on the subject, in which, unlike many later historians, he understands the
twin aspect of hope and fear in apocalyptic beliefs, and does not speak of paralyzing
terrors, but 'terrible hopes'. Anyone who can ridicule the passage has a tin ear (eg.
Ferdinand Lot).

> and speaks of "Inventing Myth" and "Contemporary License" with the year 2000 by
> environmentalist. He leans heavily on an 11th century account in 1044 by a monk,
> Radulphus Glaber who claims that the double millennium (1000 and 1033) spurred
> on church building and inspired new enthusiasm, but curiously did not mention
> end of the world fever.
'Curiously' --only to historians who have not read him. Glaber's full of end of the world fever: the heretics that arise "at the end of the year 1000" are the fulfillment of Rev. 20:7 on Antichrist released at the end of the 1000 years (the first such "Hal Lindsey-like reading of Revelation to make it into Latin historiography since Augustine banned such exegesis -- Lot found this passage so unpalatable, he claimed that the Romantics made it up??? It's in a 12th century copy at the BN; the famine that devastated France from 1030-1033 was so severe that people thought the end of the world had come. out of it came the peace councils of 1033 and the mass pilgrimage of one-way pilgrims to Jerusalem the same year.

> Stearn concludes his chapter by saying,"I am a professional historian and I hate
> demonstrable untruth, excuse me but this is cheap rhetoric. there is no such thing
> in a period as poorly documented as the early 11th century, as"demonstrable
> unproof all the more since, until recently, I blithely shared the popular
> misconception, not being a medieval specialist.quot;
Good grief, and so in reading the rehashed hack job of late 19th century positivist historians scared witless by the Paris Commune of 1871 (the first article *against* the year 1000 was written in 1872, followed by a torrent of"nothing happened, a year like any other" chorus among both Catholic and anti-clerical scholars (all very politically conservative), he had a conversion experence?
Since Lot, no one has seriously argued this position (they just cite it in a footnote and move on), so it's got to be some very old scholarship he's working with. Since then J. Fried has a 100 page piece in Deutsches Archiv (1989) and I a 70-page piece in Le Moyen Age (1991, 1992) that demolishes this old school and piles on the evidence of apocalyptic belief at the time.

> Stearn says,"Certainly, the new millennium's advent will catch the eye of the
> medievalists and give them the chance to venture a more nuanced picture. But the
> medieval freak show will not be revived, save among careless or self-interested
> popularizers.quot;
So he already knows not to listen to anything that might challenge his principled hatred of demonstrated untruth. give me a break. It's a fascinating story that deserves close study with the full range of understanding that the sociological and anthropological studies of modern movts provides us with. And it's alot more apocalyptic than he seems willing to even entertain.

> Do stories of medieval fear at 1000 A.D., invented by French rationalists,
the hopes and the fears were invented by French Romantics who were trying to revive the revolutionary fervor of 1789 (Michelet wrote in the wake of the failure of July 1830). the fears were *rejected* by the rationalists.

> now help support an ongoing apocalyptic tradition, making millennial roots
> appear far deeper than they actually were?
and what if, quod absit, they actually do go far deeper than superficial historians wish to believe?

> Or are we missing something between the lines and need a more nuanced approach? I have a couple of chapters in my book on this: History, Apocalypse, and the Deceits of History: Ademar of Chabannes, 989-1034 (Harvard UP, 1995). Chap 1 deals with the historiographical debate, chaps 14-15 are an interpretation of the years from the later 990s to the mid 1030s as a millennial generation in which apocalyptic 'readings' of events and developments permeated the culture and, in its disappointment/retooling, produced the dynamic culture that we eventually came to call the modern West. We are, in my reading, still part of the cultural movement that first started back then. The subject of my current book is: While God Tarried: Disappointed Millennialism and the Genealogy of the Modern West.

New Millennial Sites:


"Here are new sites in cyberspace"

CENTER FOR MILLENNIAL STUDIES "What past turning points tell us about today"
An academic web site at Boston University which contains links to religious millennial sites, archives, events and commentary on historical millennium turning points in western culture.
http://www.mille.org

THE TIME OF OUR LIVES WEB: "A Personal and Social Study of Time"
This page is devoted to the study of time and the various timetables and rhythms that shape human behaviors and thoughts. Daily time, weekly time, life-cycle time, career time, religious time, historical time and future time are all considered.
http://www.trinity.edu/~mkearl/time.html

Contact Information:


"Your link to the third millennium"

Talk 2000 Forum Home Page: http://hcol.humberc.on.ca/talk2000.htm
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Jay Gary, aka The Millennium Doctor
author, The Star of 2000
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