Perhaps you've been keeping up with some of the hype about the movie "2012," which opens next week, and its focus on the Mayan calendar.
One interpretation of that calendar is that the Mayans predicted long, long ago that the world would end in 2012.
Oh, brother. Another end-times date setting effort. One thing we know about the date setters is that they've always been wrong. Always. (Pretty obvious, eh?) Many of these date setters get all twisted up in the New Testament book of Revelation, which has become a playground for bad theology and date setters.
But, of course, the Mayans weren't exactly exegeting the last book of the Bible. Nor, says a professor and Maya scholar at the University of New Hampshire, is it accurate to suggest the Mayan calendar calls for an end of the world in 2012.
Eleanor Harrison-Buck, assistant professor of archaeology at New Hamphire, says that misinterpretation has come about because the Mayans' calendar system envisions cycles of time, and the current cycle ends December 21, 2012.
“Rather than simply ‘the end of the world,’" she said in a press release from the school, "the Maya would no doubt have viewed the end of this great cycle as an important and powerful time of reordering and renewal of the world. The current push for sustainability and renewable resources suggests that perhaps the ancient Maya were not that far off in their predictions for this time period, that our world by 2012 would need a time of reordering and renewal.”
But, of course, that wouldn't make a very compelling movie. So the movie imagines that the Mayans called for the world to end on Dec. 21, 2012. The movie Web site calls the film "an epic adventure about a global cataclysm that brings an end to the world. . ."
I remember writng a longish piece for The Kansas City Star (you can find it in my book, A Gift of Meaning) about all the end of the world hype happening as we moved toward the year 2000. Again, it was all nonsense (not my piece, which was naturally brilliant, but the predictions).
That doesn't mean there might not be a cataclysmic end of the world some day. What we know, however, is that each of our individual world's will end when we die. And if you ask me, that's the end for which we should be prepared.
(The image here today is from http://www.tedswiet.com/lightfixtures/Images/exploded_view%20_05.jpg.)
* * *
OLD AND NEW TO BE DISPLAYED TOGETHER
Did you see the Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit, either when it was in Kansas City a couple of years ago or elsewhere? Well, it opens in the Twin Cities next March, only this time the exhibition will include some pages from the St. John's Bible, the fabulous hand-written work of art being done at St. John's Abbey in Minnesota. I own a couple of the completed books of that Bible and they're simply amazing works. Look around on the St. John's site.