Although there existed no real millennial text prior to late Jewish and early Christian texts, there exists an overabundance of resources that heavily draw on millennial texts. This article deals with the “Apocrypha” or the Hebrew Bible, which is wrought with apocalyptic literature. Similar literature is also to be found in Mesopotamian scriptures, a string of texts known as the “Akkadian Prophecies”. Ancient Zoroastrian texts, predating both Jewish and Christian counterparts, too seem to have substantial pre-millennial texts, similar in subjective elements such as an unhappy end of time with subsequent salvation, resurrection, personified angels etc. The common factors between these texts are: they commonly draw on general crisis contexts and most immediate and obvious hurdles in projecting the evils of the world; secondly, the geographical origins of these texts were unified by the common factor of their unequivocal resistance to Hellenic expansionism, something that figures prominently in the subjective interpretation of these texts.
This chapter investigates the sacrificial violence that is a problem of ancient religions, paying attention only to those civilizations which form the basis of Near Eastern-European tradition. The suicidal murderer regards himself as homo religiosus. Religion is committed in an arena of death, nay of killing. The shadow of death appears most noticeable when sacrifice reaches its violent peak in human sacrifice. There have been a few examples of substitution sacrifice in rituals and legends. The themes of violence and killing make tragedy. Religion admits danger, fear, and violence, while presenting rules concerning how to deal with these, one of which includes the risk and the triumph of killing.