by John Michael Greer

Subtitled ‘A History of the End of Time’, this book is exactly that: myths involving a catastrophic end of humanity. This seems to be a popular meme: a number of cultures sport such mythologies. 

The book concentrates primarily on the Christian version, as expressed in the title. It does briefly discuss Hebrew, Mesopotamian, and Persian versions, but doesn’t delve much beyond that. This is my primary criticism of the book; I would have preferred to see more material on East Asian, African, and Amerindian cultures. It would have been nice to give some assessment of cultures that do NOT have such mythologies.

The book’s strong point is its tracing of the Christian version of the meme. It seems that Christians have been obsessed with the end of all things. What’s striking is just how often Christians have been able to come up with “proof” that the end of the world is due Real Soon Now, despite two thousand years of disappointments. 

Particularly interesting is the American obsession with the concept; American charlatans have been preying on the dim-witted for at least two hundred years. It continues today, the most recent version being the “Rapture” mythology which has been utilized to sell millions of copies of books. There’s a sucker born every minute.