Rapture Culture

Rapture Culture : Left Behind in Evangelical America

3.76 (47 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

In the "twinkling of an eye" Jesus secretly returns to earth and gathers to him all believers. As they are taken to heaven, the world they leave behind is plunged into chaos. Cars and airplanes crash and people search in vain for loved ones. Plagues, famine, and suffering follow. The antichrist emerges to rule the world and to destroy those who oppose him. Finally, Christ comes again in glory, defeats the antichrist and reigns over the earth. This apocalyptic scenario is anticipated by millions of Americans. These millions have made the Left Behind series--novels that depict the rapture and apocalypse--perennial bestsellers, with over 40 million copies now in print. In Rapture Culture, Amy Johnson Frykholm explores this remarkable phenomenon, seeking to understand why American evangelicals find the idea of the rapture so compelling. What is the secret behind the remarkable popularity of the apocalyptic genre? One answer, she argues, is that the books provide a sense of identification and communal belonging that counters the "social atomization" that characterizes modern life. This also helps explain why they appeal to female readers, despite the deeply patriarchal worldview they promote. Tracing the evolution of the genre of rapture fiction, Frykholm notes that at one time such narratives expressed a sense of alienation from modern life and protest against the loss of tradition and the marginalization of conservative religious views. Now, however, evangelicalism's renewed popular appeal has rendered such themes obsolete. Left Behind evinces a new embrace of technology and consumer goods as tools for God's work, while retaining a protest against modernity's transformation of traditional family life. Drawing on extensive interviews with readers of the novels, Rapture Culture sheds light on a mindset that is little understood and far more common than many of us suppose.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 240 pages
  • 167.6 x 240.8 x 22.9mm | 489.89g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 0195159837
  • 9780195159837

Review quote

"An informative, brightly written analysis of apocalyptic sentiment on the popular level. This is a most interesting book and an important contribution to the growing literature on evangelicalism.--Randall Balmer, author of Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory: A Journey into the Evangelical Subculture in AmericaRapture Culture offers fresh and illuminating insights into one of the most significant cultural phenomena of our era, the explosion of interest in biblical prophecies of the end times. Drawing on in-depth interviews, Amy Johnson Frykholm shrewdly explores the popular reception of the bestselling Left Behind prophecy novels as readers share their responses in the context of family, church, and other social networks. This eminently readable book explores the interaction of contemporary American religion, cultural politics, gender issues, and the mass media. Highly recommended. --Paul S. Boyer, author of When Time Shall Be No More: Prophecy Belief in Modern American Culture"This fascinating book is a one-of-a-kind look at how people read religious literature. Thoroughly engaging, it asks us to consider the importance of imagination in the construction of a spiritual life. The author gives us an inside view of often conflicting interpretations that Christians give of the drama of the End Times."---Colleen McDannell, author of Material Christianity: Religion and Popular Culture in Americashow more

About Amy Johnson Frykholm

Amy Johnson Frykholm teaches Literature, Cultural Studies, and Religion at Colorado Mountain College.show more

Rating details

47 ratings
3.76 out of 5 stars
5 19% (9)
4 47% (22)
3 26% (12)
2 9% (4)
1 0% (0)
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