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By Richard Connors

Neither the meliorist political tradition of the nascent American republic nor its later go with the flow towards apocalyptically tinged 'fundamentalist' Protestantism and dispensationalism could be defined outdoors the context of the shared Anglo-American traditions and practices of millennial expectation and apocalyptic angst--whether expressed via early colonists, Milton, Blake, Miller or the Continental Congress. during this chronologically direct and thematically various quantity, 5 students operating in 3 detailed disciplines (Religion, English literature, and background) technique millennialism and apocalypticism within the British and Anglo-American contexts, making extraordinary contributions either to the examine of spiritual, literary and political tradition within the English-speaking ecumene, and, at the least implicitly, to the critique of disciplinary exclusivity. in simple terms in such combined corporation does the learn of the millennial nexus in English and American faith, tradition, literature and politics, from the time of Milton to the time of the Millerites, come into concentration.

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Marjorie Reeves very insightfully describes this consequence of Joachim’s historical application of Revelation: Joachimism gave historical happenings a unique importance linking past, present, and future moments of time with transcendental purpose. It invited the casting of roles in the final acts of the drama. Above all, it opened up the prospect of new human agencies called to participate in the last decisive works of God in history. 34 33 See Tuveson, Millennium and Utopia: A Study in the Background of the Idea of Progress (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1949), 43; Bauckham, Tudor Apocalypse (Oxford: The Sutton Courtenay Press, 1978), 133; Nisbet, History of the Idea of Progress, 118; and Grossman, “Authors to Themselves”: Milton and the Revelation of History (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1987), 14.

But their postmillennialism ultimately produces a conservative sense of this effort, a human history trumped in one way or another by the imminent End. Foxe has no theological means to imagine a radical future, nor can he extrapolate from his apocalyptic continuity a conception of historical progress. He has no choice but to return conceptually to the image he initially mocks, the “well-head and fountain” of tradition.        21 iv. An Earthly Millennium and the Possibility of Failure When English interpreters of Revelation began to suspect that the millennium referred to in Revelation 20 had not already occurred in history, but rather was still to occur in the future, after Christ’s return, they also began to conceive of this millennium as an earthly paradise.

38 Such thinking tends to marginalize the meaning of human action in history. Foxe’s linear-apocalyptic narrative produces a quite different effect: it begins to take human actions in history as the raw material by which we can understand God’s cosmic plan. Such a history tries to understand the God’s-eye-view by, among other things, examining the struggles of individual actors. In an important sense, the Elizabethan reformers received the Apocalypse as a typological edifice and worked hard to bring out its potential as a history of human effort.

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