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Omens of millennium : the gnosis of angels, dreams, and resurrection / Harold Bloom

Main Author Bloom, Harold, 1930- Country Estados Unidos. Publication New York : Riverhead Books, 1997 Description [10], 255 p. ; 23 cm ISBN 1-57322-629-7 CDU 291.1
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Item type Current location Call number Status Date due Barcode Item holds
Monografia Biblioteca de Ciências da Educação
BCE 291.1 - B Available 202593
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Enhanced descriptions from Syndetics:

In this impassioned, erudite, and provocative work, Harold Bloom, bestselling author and America's foremost literary and cultural critic, examines society's "New Age" obsessions- angels, prophetic dreams, and near-death experiences. Omens of Millennium traces these cultural phenomena from their ancient and traditional origins to their present-day, millennial manifestations. In addition, it is a personal account of Bloom's Gnosticism. Certain to educate, challenge, and entertain, Omens of Millennium is as fascinating as it is timely.

Reviews provided by Syndetics

Library Journal Review

A critic par excellence explores our fascination with angels and near-death. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publishers Weekly Review

A fascination with near-death experiences, alien abductions, angels and prophetic dreams has reached a "particular intensity" in the U.S. as the millennium approaches. Or so says Bloom (The Western Canon) in this dazzling, maverick study in literature and comparative religion. Pausing often to unpack his own religious convictions, which are rooted in Gnosticism, a mystical belief system whose elusive history he traces to early Christianity, Kabbalistic Judaism and Islamic Sufism, Bloom contends that such "omens of the Millennium" are in fact debased forms of Gnosticism. Gnosis, he writes, is a spiritual orientation at odds with orthodox religion. It eschews faith in an outward God for knowledge of the divinity of the deepest self and retells the story of creation as a fall away from a Godhead and a Fullness that, Bloom says, is more humane than the God of institutional religion. Contrasting the "inspired vacuity" of New Age writers like Arianna Huffington and Raymond A. Moody to authentic Gnostic authors (who, according to Bloom, include ancient sages like Valentinus, medieval Kabbalists like Isaac Luria and more modern writers like Blake, Emerson and Shakespeare), Bloom explores how images of angels, prophecies and resurrection have always mirrored anxieties about the end of time, and how these images have been domesticated by popular culture. Bloom frequently injects himself into his study, discussing with rueful irony his own experiments with the outer limits of consciousness, including his own "near-death experience" (in a hospital while convalescing from a bleeding ulcer). The final chapter is a Gnostic sermon on self-transcendence. This book's brevity and eccentricities (Huffington and Moody are easy targets who don't exemplify the range and complexity of New Age thought) diminish its force as polemic. As a critical performance, however, it's a tour de force, highlighting a secret history of mystical thought whose visionaries and poets call out to each other over the centuries. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Booklist Review

Harold Bloom's latest work of religious and literary criticism places America's recent obsession with spiritual phenomena, angels, near-death experiences, and dream interpretation in the historical context of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Bloom succeeds in writing a comprehensive, concise, and witty commentary on these topics. Bloom, the 65-year-old author of 21 previous works of criticism, uses his highly refined understanding of the Bible, the Kabalah, the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Koran, and other religious texts to demonstrate how the world's great religions drew from gnostic and Zoroastrian spirituality the spiritual themes that are being crudely revived in the popular culture of the U.S. today. As much an autobiography as a treatise, Millennium is full of the author's religious experiences that highlight his overall thesis. At times, Bloom risks losing the casual reader in blocks of overly academic prose. Ultimately, his humor and cogency preserve this terrific thesis for general interest. --Ted Leventhal

Kirkus Book Review

A sometimes scintillating, sometimes exasperatingly esoteric examination of ``our current American obsession with angels, with parapsychological dreams, with the `near death experience' and its astral body manifestations'' and, in particular, their ``clear analogues in the formative period of ancient Gnosticism.'' Bloom, the prolific (The Western Canon, 1994; The American Religion, 1992; etc.) professor of humanities at Yale and English at New York Univ., is fascinated by the belief system, rooted in the ancient Persian faith known as Zoroastrianism and most fully expressed by the ancient sect of Gnostics, that an eternal, divine being is immanent, in the self, waiting to be known, rather than transcendent, in heaven, waiting to be revealed. In prose that too often seems composed in a kind of scholarly shorthand and that comes close to burying the reader in the author's formidable erudition, he finds elements of this belief in aspects of medieval Christianity, the teachings of the Sufis, and in the 16th-century Jewish mystical movement of Lurianic Kabbalah. He also finds it in such modern thinkers such as Emerson. He argues, not totally convincingly, that gnostic impulses lie at the heart of much end- of-the-century American popular spirituality. In the process, Bloom has some piquant if harsh things to say about New Age spirituality (``an endlessly entertaining saturnalia of ill-defined yearnings''). He is one of the very few contemporary writers to try seriously to trace the underlying religious and intellectual roots of our fin-de-siècle. However, Bloom never quite distinguishes the conceptual limits of Gnosticism, i.e., how it differs from antinomianism. Some of the facile intellectual judgments here seem to offer more a tour de force of knowledge and cleverness than the fruits of a sustained period of reflection. (Quality Paperback Book Club alternate selection; One Spirit Book Club alternate selection)

Author notes provided by Syndetics

Harold Bloom was born on July 11, 1930 in New York City. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from Cornell in 1951 and his Doctorate from Yale in 1955.

After graduating from Yale, Bloom remained there as a teacher, and was made Sterling Professor of Humanities in 1983. Bloom's theories have changed the way that critics think of literary tradition and has also focused his attentions on history and the Bible. He has written over twenty books and edited countless others. He is one of the most famous critics in the world and considered an expert in many fields. In 2010 he became a founding patron of Ralston College, a new institution in Savannah, Georgia, that focuses on primary texts.

His works include Fallen Angels, Till I End My Song: A Gathering of Last Poems, Anatomy of Influence: Literature as a Way of Life and The Shadow of a Great Rock: A Literary Appreciation of The King James Bible.

Harold Bloom passed away on October 14, 2019 in New Haven, at the age of 89.

(Bowker Author Biography)

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