Angels, prophetic dreams, and resurrection -- as we approach the millennium, American culture is increasingly fascinated with what many consider to be "new age" phenomena. Yet our current millennial preoccupations are derived from the ancient Hebraic, Christian, and Sufi traditions; they are neither ephemeral nor trivial. They have inspired and captivated the greatest of Western thinkers, from antiquity to Milton, Blake and Shakespeare.
What are the angels? And where does our notion of them originate? What role have dreams played in the history of human consciousness? What is the link between angels, prophetic dreams, and near-death experiences? How are these phenomena relevant to us today, as we approach the 21st century?
In this commanding and impassioned inquiry, Harold Bloom draws on a life-long study of religion and, in particular, of Gnosticism, the knowledge that God is not an external force but resides within each one of us. Through the ancient literature of Jewish Kabbalah, Christian Gnosticism, and Muslim Shi`ite Sufism, he reveals to us the angels not as the kitschy cherubs we know today, but as magnificent, terrifying, sublime beings who have always played a central role in Western culture. He allows us to feel their splendor, and to experience the powerful role that dreams and near-death experiences have held throughout the centuries. And in the dazzling final chapter, he delivers a Gnostic sermon in which he urges us toward transcendence.
In Omens of Millennium, Harold Bloom has written a book whose triumph is not only its synthesis of centuries of religious thought, but its deep spirituality, through which we come to know - and to mourn - a religious experience no longer available to us. A brilliant and provocative book, sure to engender as much discussion as his books The Western Canon and The Book of J.