Cover image for Millennial seduction : a skeptic confronts apocalyptic culture
Millennial seduction : a skeptic confronts apocalyptic culture
Quinby, Lee, 1946-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Ithaca, N.Y. : Cornell University Press, 1999.
Physical Description:
ix, 182 pages : illustrations ; 21 cm
Introduction: threshold of revelation -- Skeptical revelations of an American feminist on Patmos -- Teaching on the threshold: angels and skeptics -- Genealogical skepticism: how theory confronts millennialism -- Millennialist morality and the problem of chastity -- Coercive purity: the dangerous promise of apocalyptic masculinity -- Feeling Jezebel: exposing apocalyptic gender panic and other con games; Addendum: circuits of revelation -- Programmed perfectioN, technoppression, and cyborg flesh -- Epilogue: skepticism as a way of life.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
BL2747 .Q56 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



Who among us still thinks the year 2000 is just an arbitrary turn of a calendar page? Why does its approach bring both fear of apocalyptic destruction and the promise of millennial salvation? Lee Quinby investigates how anxiety about the arrival of the new century casts everything from El Niño to sheep cloning in apocalyptic terms, simultaneously fueling panic and fostering unfounded hope for a perfect world.

Millennial rhetoric is both pervasive and persuasive, Quinby argues, because it operates with mutually reinforcing doses of fear and hope. Religious and secular anxiety erupts over charged issues such as sex education, the regulation of cyberspace, and the Christian masculinity of the Promise Keepers. Quinby exposes the dangers of millennialist solutions, which link misogyny, homophobia, and racism with absolutist claims about truth, morality, sexuality, and technology.

It is the absolutism of apocalyptic thought--not an impending apocalypse--that poses the more serious threat to our society, Quinby maintains. Millennial Seduction advocates a form of skepticism that challenges absolutism and encourages democratic participation.

Reviews 1

Booklist Review

Quinby's thesis is that America's consciousness, given its Judeo-Christian roots, is shackled to ancient millennial beliefs: the eventual apocalyptic destruction of the world, followed by a divine new world for the chosen. These notions are handy for keeping moral order, Quinby concedes, but in what ways do they stand in the path of democratic progress? Do they, in fact, promote misogyny or homophobia? And without them, how can a skeptical society construct a moral code and hope for a better future? Quinby tackles these big questions by exploring both the causes and the effects of enduring millennial belief. For her discussion, she draws on subjects as diverse as the Promise Keepers and Tony Kushner's Angels in America (1993), stopping by the woods of Henry David Thoreau along the way. Quinby has a gift for explaining complex, radical ideas in accessible, well-organized, and personal terms. This provocative and meaningful book deserves a wide audience of both students and liberal-minded book groups. But, hey, better hurry. --James Klise