Discussion Questions on Stephen Jay Gould's
Questioning the Millennium
Original Preface and Chapter 1

Why does Gould call the millennium precisely arbitrary?

What is so special about the decimal system?

What are the three W-questions around which Gould organizes the book?

On pg. 55, Gould says "The basic concept of the millennium in Western culture arose from two of the great mental strategies that we use to wrest order and meaning from a recalcitrant world." What are these two mental strategies?

How do the concepts of time and change address basic human psychological needs? How do they relate to the concept of millennium?

What concept of millennium is developed in Revelation 20?

What are some characteristics of millenarian movements?

In what two ways does Gould say that millennialism has been significant in history? (See pp. 62-63)

What are some of the distinguishing characteristics of millennium as apocalypse and millennium as calendrics?

What concepts of time are developed in Psalm 90?

Compare these concepts with 2 Peter 3:8.

How do these passages relate to a concept of millennialism?

These questions were prepared by Prof. Tom Sienkewicz for his students in Honors 210 "Reading Through the Millennia" at Monmouth College. If you have any questions about this material, you can contact him at toms@monm.edu.