Journal Article

Keeping the End in Mind: <i>Left Behind</i>, the Apocalypse and the Evangelical Imagination

Mathew Guest

in Literature and Theology

Volume 26, issue 4, pages 474-488
Published in print December 2012 | ISSN: 0269-1205
Published online November 2012 | e-ISSN: 1477-4623 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/litthe/frs053
Keeping the End in Mind: Left Behind, the Apocalypse and the Evangelical Imagination

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The Left Behind novels, by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins, illustrate how rapture fiction has become established as a highly successful subgenre of Christian literature. However, their public reception—within popular and scholarly contexts—reflects an instrumentalisation of the novel that obscures their significance as cultural expressions of evangelical identity. This article challenges this tendency, drawing from social scientific research into reader negotiation of texts within the evangelical world, and argues that both processes of engaging with the novels, and the novels themselves, mirror an evangelicalism that is not simple, univocal or homogeneous, but is complex and conflicted.

Journal Article.  6743 words. 

Subjects: Literature ; Religion and Art, Literature, and Music

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