Eschatology in Pop Culture

Robert Jewett and John Shelton Lawrence

in The Oxford Handbook of Eschatology

Published in print December 2007 |
Published online September 2009 | | DOI:

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Popular culture embraces diverse arenas of expression, such as mythic narratives, news story archetypes, advertising, songs, games, political campaigns, public rituals, toys, comic books, films, television series, sports, celebrities, sermons, web sites, music, and biblical commentaries for lay readers. The label “popular” carries no pejorative flavor—as it did in mid-twentieth-century discussions of “mass culture”—nor does it imply consensus about popular culture's valuation by those who experience it. Compared to more mature fields, the scholarly study of religion and popular culture lacks a single disciplinary home. Inspiration for academic study with interdisciplinary texts and courses came from the Popular Culture Association, which originated at Bowling Green State University in Ohio. This article deals with eschatology in popular culture, focusing on early forms of popular eschatology, Bible-influenced popular culture in the United States, postmillennialism in civil religion, millennialism in superheroic fictions, the millennial vision and the video game, and premillennial fictions at the turn of the century.

Keywords: United States; eschatology; popular culture; Bible; postmillennialism; civil religion; millennialism; superheroic fictions; video game; premillennial fictions

Article.  7099 words. 

Subjects: Religion ; Philosophy of Religion ; Religious Studies

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