Part at the Harvard Universit}’ Commencement. M}’ eightminuternaddress was entitled “The Coming of the Third Age.” Irnused the vision of a 12th-centur)’ ItaHan friar, Joachim of Floris,rnto suggest that our world might once again be on the verge of arnmomentous transformation beyond our power to anticipate orrnplan.rnJoachim believed that there was a first age, the age of tiie Father,rnwhich had pa,ssed into the second age, that ot the Son,rnwhich in turn was drawing to an end, to be followed by a thirdrnand final age, that of the Holy Spirit, hi this third age, peoplernwould no longer need to be taught by priests, for it was to be asrntiie prophet Jeremiah said: “They shall all know me, from thernleast of them to the greatest of them, saith the LORD” (Jer.rn31:34). The Spirit of God would rule in the hearts of men, andrnthe tutelage of the priesthood woidd no longer be necessan,-.rn.fter Joachim’s death (ca. 1202), some of his disciples calculatedrntiiat the dawning of his new age woidd come in the yearrn1260, but the Holv Roman Emperor Frederick II, whom theyrnhad envisaged as the Antichrist of the Last Da-s, died in 1250.rnThe Joachite vision faded, but men have continued to hopernand expect a new age, an age when mankind will somehow risernto a new stage of perfection, when tables of stone or the pages ofrnthe Book will be superseded and man will be able to know allrntruths on his own.rnWhile for Joachim the priesthood was to become di.spcnsab]ernbecause the Holv Spirit would instruct each believer personal-rnIv, his successors began to think in terms of the autonomy of thernhuman spirit. Thus theirs soon came to be a secular third age,rna vision of Utopia created by enlightened, self-taught humanrnbeings. G.F. Lessing (1729-1781) thought that the race was onrnthe threshold of maturitv’, about to free itself, as his contemporan-rnImmanuel Kant (1724-1804) would write, from its self-imposedrnimmaturitv. In The Education of the Human Racern(1780), Lessing annoimced the dawn of a third age of Reason,rnwhen neither the commanding Law of Joachim’s age of the Fatherrnnor the Gospel of love of the age of the Son would be necessarvrnany longer. In this third age, man’s reason would leadrnhim into all truth. Unfortunately for Lessing’s vision, the triumphrnof Reason in the heartland of the Lnlightenment,rnFrance, woidd soon plunge tiiat nation into tiie insane carnagernof tiie Reign ofl’error.rnThe idea that there are three ages in histon,’ and that we arernstanding at tiie dawn of the third has arisen more thanrnonce. Could it be true now? Human efforts to understand ]ii,ston’rnhave tended to see trends in threes, and historv’ up to thernpresent offers some basis for it. There have been three Romes:rnRome itself, Constantinople, and Moscow. There have beenrnthree “millennial” empires. Rome lasted from 753 15.C. until itrnwas extinguished in the West in A.I^. 476. Its successor state, thernHolv Roman Empire inaugurated under Charlemagne in .D.rn800, also endured for almost exactly a millennium, in one formrnor another, until it was shut down by Napoleon in 1806. WhenrnBismarck proclaimed tiie establishment of the German empirernin 1870, it was seen as another “second” empire, the successorrnto the empire of Charlemagne. But unlike Charlemagne’s, itrnlasted onlv 48 years. -And 1 5 vears later, in 1933, there was arnthird.rnHitier’s “Third Reich,” proclaimed as tiie “Thousand Years’rnReich,” drew both consciously and unconsciously on the “thirdrnage” and “third empire” themes of the past. From one perspectivernit could be seen as the successor to the first and second Germanrnempires of Charlemagne and Bismarck, but from anotherrnand more millennial perspective, as the successor to RomarnANNOUNCING THE YEAR 2000rnPHILLIPS FOUNDATION JOURNALISM FELLOWSHIPrn• WORKING JOURNALISTS ELIGIBLE FOR $50,000 •rnI f you are a working print journalist with five years of professional experience, a unique opportunity awaits – thernchance to apply for a $50,000 grant to complete a one-year project of your choosing, focusing on journalism supportive ofrnAmerican culture and a free societyrnrounded in 1990, The Phillips Foundation is a non-profit organization whose purpose is to advance the cause ofrnobjective journalism. The Foundations fellowship program serves to provide support for journalists who share the Foundation’srnmission: to advance constitutional principles, a democratic society and a vibrant free enterprise system.rnjflpplications are now being accepted for The Year 2000 Phillips Foundation Journalism Fellowship. Applicationsrnmust be postmarked by March 1,2000. The winner will be announced at an awards dinner in Washington in the Spring. The fellowshiprnwill begin on September 1,2000. Applicants must be U.S. citizens.rnFor applications and more information, write:rnMr. John FarleyrnTHE PHILUPS FOUNDATIONrn7811 Montrose Road, Potomac, Maryland 20854rnTelephone (301) 340-2100rnE-mail: jfar[email protected]: March 1,2000rnDECEMBER 1999/17rnrnrn