Relics, Apocalypse, and the Deceits of History
The Apocalyptic Year 1000

Religious Expectation and Social Change, 950-1050

Oxford University Press, 2003

The essays in this book challenge prevailing views on the way in which apocalyptic concerns contributed to larger processes of social change at the first millennium. Several basic questions unify the essays: What chronological and theological assumptions underlay apocalyptic and millennial speculations around the Year 1000? How broadly disseminated were those speculations? Can we speak of a mentality of apocalyptic hopes and anxieties on the eve of the millennium? If so, how did authorities respond to or even contribute to the formation of this mentality? What were the social ramifications of apocalyptic hopes and anxieties, and of any efforts to suppress or redirect the more radical impulses that bred them? How did contemporaries conceptualize and then historicize the passing of the millennial date of 1000? Including the work of British, French, German, Dutch, and American scholars, this book will be the definitive resource on this fascinating topic, and should at the same time provoke new interest in and debate on the nature and causes of social change in early medieval Europe.


David Appleby
The CAtholic Historical Review, January 2009
Felice Lifchitz
Speculum, Journal of Medieval Studies, October 2004

"The collection is a first-rate guide to the state of the question and would well suit undergraduate and graduate courses on historiography and methodology."

Catholic Historical Review