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Questioning the Millennium by Stephen Jay Gould
  

Questioning the Millennium

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Synopsis

Questioning the Millennium by Stephen Jay Gould

Stephen Jay Gould examines the phenomenon of the millennium. He looks at the origins of the term in the Biblical prophecies of the Book of Revelation - if the six ages of man date from 4000BC, will 2000AD signify the end of time? Gould describes how the meaning of the word has evolved to its present day usage and tackles the debate over whether the millennium ends in 1999 or at the end of 2000AD. He also questions the human compulsion to impose our time-schemes on the universe and wonders how far can we go in applying our mathematical principles to nature. Existing methods of calculating time are all flawed to some extent and yet the complexities of lunar months, leap years, and the calculation of dates such as Easter, are part and parcel of our fascination with calendrics as both a hobby and an occupation.

Reviews

With a humorous Everyman approach, Gould juggles a mind-boggling array of various calendrical concepts as he explains why creating a reliable calendar was one of man's greatest struggles. Whether nailing down the precise date of the birth of Christ or airing his suspicion that God is a New York Yankees fan, Gould teaches rather than preaches.--Daneet Steffens Entertainment Weekly
The author believes that the history of the last 2000 years can be seen as a progression from believing in an imminent glorious new world to counting the present through a calendar unit of a thousand years. In the course of outlining the eclipse of a supernatural millennium to a secular one, Gould takes the opportunity to debunk a lot of nonsense. By far the best thing in the book is a moving description of how and why autistic people are able instantly to tell you the relevant day of the week for any given historical date. (Kirkus UK)


About the Author

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Book Info

Publication date

5th November 1998

Author

Stephen Jay Gould

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Publisher

Vintage

Format

Paperback
208 pages

Categories

Science: general issues
Time (chronology), time systems & standards
General & world history

ISBN

9780099765813

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