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TheEndofTime:TheMayaMysteryof2012.ByAnthonyAveni,withaForewordbyPrudence M.Rice.Boulder,CO:UniversityPressofColorado,2009.Pp.xix,190.Notes,Glossary,Index. Paperback,$19.95. AswemovetowardDecember,2012,manygallonsofinkwillbespilledandtonsof paperusedindiscussingtheimplicationsofthenominalendoftheMayacalendricalsystem. Prof.AnthonyAveniofColgateUniversity,easilythebestknownscholarofMesoamerican archeoastronomy,inthisslimbookattemptstodebunkthosewhowouldleadonetobelieve thatcataclysmiceventsareafoot.Thetimingofthereleaseofthebookisclearlyanattempt onthepartofAveniandtheUniversityPressofColoradotogetoutinfrontofthecontroversy withalittlelightandmuchreason. Thisbookisaimedatgeneralreaders,andnotprofessionalsorothersalreadytrainedin Mesoamericanculture.Theworkisdividedintoeightchapters,thefirstofwhichisanamusing introduction.Thelastisawellconceivedconclusion.Thebookhaditsoriginsinaqueryto AvenifromayoungpersoninEnglandwhowastrulyconcernedthathisyounglifemightbecut shortbytheendingoftheworldpredictedbytheMayacalendar.

r.Usingthisepistolary exchangeasapointofdeparture,Avenianalyzesthehypethatcurrentlysurroundsthetopicof theMayacalendar.Inthesecondchapter,hetakesalookatthemajorapproachesto2012as aharbingerofdestruction.Avenicategorizestheseaccordingtotheirmajorprognostications andprincipleadvocates.ForexamplethefirsttobeconsideredisthemodernGnosticbelief thatthereishiddenknowledgeandthat2012willprovidethekeytothisknowledge.Hesees GeoffStrayasaproponentofthisapproach,laterpickedupandpopularizedbyJoseArguelles. OthersincludedinAvenislistof2012propheciesareJohnMajorJenkins,CarlJohanCalleman, andDanielPinchbeck,tonameafew. AvenithenusesthethirdchaptertoprovidethereaderwithaquicklessoninMaya calendricsandphilosophy,asbestweunderstandittoday.Thecruxoftheissueisthatthe Mayacalendarconsistsofasystemofcountingthepassageoftime,daybyday.Themannerin whichthisdaycountisexpressedassumesastartingpointin3114BCE.Thecalendaralsohasa pointatwhichitends,orrollsover,December,2012.Avenithenlooksatoneofthe predictionsofferedbymoderndoomsayers.Thisprophecyclaimsthatthebeginningofthe MayacalendarmarkedanalignmentoftheuniversealongtheMilkyWay.Theyear2012will markareturntothatalignment.Aveniprovidesthreeargumentstocounterthisprophecy. ThefirstisthatthedataisnotatallclearwhatalignmentmighthaveintriguedtheMaya. Secondly,theirrepresentationofthephysicalworldwasfardifferentfromthemapsandcharts ofthetwentiethcenturyfolksanalyzingthe2012event,andsogettingintothemindofthe Mayaonthisverybasiclevelisfraughtwithdifficulty.Lastly,thereisnocredibleevidencefrom thepreColumbianpastthattheMayaactuallyconsideredtheMilkyWayasacriticalfeaturelet aloneimbueitwiththepowermodernfolkshavereadintoit.Thefourthchaptergoesinto evengreaterdetailindescribingtheinnerworkingsoftheMayacalendar,andthedivisionof timeintodays,years,andlargergroupsofdays. Buildingonthemesfrompreviouschapters,Avenithenbeginstolookevenmoreclosely intoissuesofastronomyandtheMaya.Hebeginswithaseriesofquestionsaskingifthere mightbeagalacticalignmentandmighttheMayahaveknownaboutitorbeenabletopredict

it.Throughoutthechapter,thethentakeseachofthesequestionsandaddressesitusingour bestscientificknowledge.Avenisstatusasanaccomplishedarcheoastronomerfigures prominentlyinthischapterashemustersthemostrecentastronomicalresearchtohiscause. Thesixthchaptertakesalookatothereschatologicalbeliefsystemsaroundtheworld,since manyotherpeopleshavepredictedtheendoftimes.IncludedinparticularareChristianbeliefs andtheideasoftheMayasneighbors,theAztecs. TheideaofAmericanuniquenessfiguresattheheartoftheseventhchapter.Aveni tracesthemanydifferentendoftimesscenariosdevelopedintheAmericas,fromthetimeof thearrivaloftheEuropeansupuntilmoderndays.NumeroussectsintheUnitedStateshave latcheduponportentsofacomingcataclysmwhichwilldestroytheworld,includingthe MormonsandSeventhDayAdventists.Avenilooksattheseandatmoderndaymovements, includingfearsofthecometHaleBoppandtheY2Kfuror,asexampleofthis.Theeighth chapterprovidesasummaryandconclusionforthewholebook.Intheendthesimpletruth about2012isthattheMayacalendarwillrolloverandstartagain,notunlikeanautomobile odometerwhenitgetstoaseriesof9srollsoverintoanewseriesof0s. Thisisavaluablelittlebooktobeenjoyedbyspecialistandnonspecialist.Whileitdoes notrefuteeachandeveryargument,itdoesprovidethereaderwithagoodgeneral introductiontothecontroversyandabetterunderstandingofjustwhatallthefurorisabout. JohnF.Schwaller SUNYPotsdam