Photo by the Pierpont Morgan Library/Art Resource, N.Y.

ON THE COVER: With the key to the abyss in hand, an angel shackles the devil, depicted as a snake, and casts him into a pit for 1,000 years (Revelation 20:1–3). (The devil appears again as the black figure at bottom left.) The scene illustrates a tenth-century copy of the Spanish monk Beatus de Liebana’s Commentary on the Apocalypse. In “Why 2K? The Biblical Roots of Millennialism,” James Tabor notes that our practice of marking time in thousand-year segments has a long and varied history, rooted in the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament Book of Revelation. Although Jesus was probably born several years before 1 A.D., and the advent of the 2,000th year after his birth has no explicit significance in the New Testament, the year 2000 carries tremendous symbolic meaning all the same. Tabor traces the development of millennial thinking in the Bible, illustrating in the process obscure scriptural passages and explaining why, in the minds of many, the coming year may herald the culmination of all of human history.