Prophetic Failure in Millennial Movements

Lorne L. Dawson

in The Oxford Handbook of Millennialism

Published in print October 2011 | ISBN: 9780195301052
Published online January 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

 Prophetic Failure in Millennial Movements

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Millennial movements are almost always focused on prophecies predicting future events. This article deals with the issue of prophetic failures and their ramifications. The social standing of the movement determines the response to such an eventuality. Factors such as degree of internal socialization, mutual synergy, swift response of the leadership, are some that determine the internal response to a failure. The degree of conviction is instrumental in the survival of the group, which otherwise could be so conformist so as to refute the prospects of a failure altogether. Specificity of the belief allows for unequivocal refutation. The degree of attrition often corroborates to that of the group's social exposure. Post-refute, the strategy is one of “rationalization” and “reaffirmation” to the end that the failure be projected as a victory.

Keywords: prophetic failure; post refute; internal socialization; rationalization; reaffirmation

Article.  10353 words. 

Subjects: Religion ; Religious Studies ; Sociology of Religion

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