views updated Jun 08 2018


From Greek χιλιάς (1,000) or millenarianism, from Latin mille (1,000) teaches the visible personal rule of Christ on Earth for a millennium before the end of the world. Its most ancient form, based on a literal interpretation of Revelation 20, speaks of the resurrection of the just and that of the damned. The first will be followed immediately by the millennium; the second will precede the last judgment. The Holy Office censured a recent revival of the idea: "A system of mitigated millenarianism cannot safely be taught" (H. Denzinger, Enchiridion symbolorum, ed. A. Schönmetzer [32d ed. Freiburg 1963]3839).

Bibliography: j. michl and g. englhardt, Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche, ed. j. hofer and k. rahner, 10 v. (2d, new ed. Freiburg 195765) 2:105862. g. gilleman, "Condamnation du millénarisme mitigé," Nouvelle revue théologique 67 (1945) 239241.

[g. j. dyer]


views updated May 11 2018

chiliasm The doctrine or belief that Christ will reign on earth for 1,000 years. There are numerous examples of chiliast cultic and sectarian movements in the history of the Christian Church. For example, in the medieval period, the Taborites (led by the Bohemian priest Martin Huska) preached the imminent advent of Christ, to be preceded by a period of catastrophe, followed by a New Age of His rule on earth (see H. Kaminsky , ‘Chiliasm and the Hussite Revolution’, Church History, 1957
). Chiliasm is therefore a specific form of millenarianism and shares many of the same characteristics. Thus, in anticipation of the Second Coming, chiliast communities tend to secede from the larger social order, not only spiritually but also physically, often living (as did the Taborites for a time) in a state of collective emancipation—recognizing no traditional authorities, norms, or legal restraints; shunning family and home; and turning over material possessions to common funds.


views updated Jun 11 2018

Chiliasm (Gk., chilioi, ‘a thousand’). Another name for millennialism, the theory that Christ will reign for a thousand years before the final consummation of all things.